I prayed a prayer at an age I can’t recount. It likely sounded very familiar to many, but just for good measure, a very similar prayer was made not many years later during my first camp experience at Winkler Bible camp. I am grateful to have grown up in a loving, Christian home; being eternally secure so young, even if I didn’t understand it.
The decade or 2 that followed, I spent my time distracted: trying to find my identity rather than practicing the way of Jesus. Still, I trust that God had our family in his care and His hand in the decisions I made growing up. Hindsight has a way of separating the moment of acceptance and repentance.
My journey toward Jesus began when Natalie and I got married in 2018. We started listening to podcasts about marriage and learned about our holy union in a biblical context. The desire to “do” our marriage well led me to read my bible daily and convicted me to join the 11% of Christians who have read the entire “library of scripture”!
About a year later we joined a Small Group. With eyes to see, I experienced others portray the character of Christ: sharing of the loving slowness and daily simplicity that Christ used to make himself available to anyone in need. Jesus attracted me with His character, His joyful, peaceful, patient and courageous charisma. It stirred a discontentment for my way of life. Practicing “The Way of Jesus” has humbled me like never before. He showed me that without Him I’m selfish, hurried and unloving, but in His Kingdom, it’s the other way around. First is last. Slow is fast. Even boring is interesting.
I held off being baptized for a while because I couldn’t find the meaning or purpose for it. I knew I wanted it to mean something to me and I wanted it to be unique, but I couldn’t find a clear purpose. I now understand many different layers of baptism: the chaos that God chooses to make a way through, our necessary death and resurrection, taking Christ’s name and representing it well, discipleship and participation in the Church.
If I’ve ever had a favourite verse, it would be John 15:5. “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” I’ve begun this slow process: abiding in Christ daily, patiently growing, to one day bear fruit as a natural by-product.
This spring I read Francis and Lisa Chan’s book, “You and Me Forever, Marriage in the Light of Eternity.” In a chapter titled “Don’t Waste your Marriage,” Francis shared a story when he signed up his daughter Mercy to play organized soccer. The game began and the children chased the ball like busy bees, all except Mercy and her friend. They could be seen skipping, holding hands and picking flowers. He goes on to explain, many are like five-year old soccer players, skipping through life as a battle rages around them.
I’m getting baptized because I’m not picking flowers anymore (unless they’re for my wife, of course).
“…To listen and for faithfulness in practicing the way of Jesus… that I would slow down and live at the pace of Jesus…staying rooted in His ways by abiding and resting, simplifying and slowing… I would be loving and patient…humble, not shaken by the attacks of the enemy or hardships in life.”
full baptism service