my church had our three-times-a-year baptism party yesterday, at a beach on mission bay (a san diego inlet off the pacific ocean). it’s like a massive church picnic, and one of my absolute favorite things my church does. after food and conversation, the pastors all make their way into the water, and people who want to get baptized make their way to one of them. some come alone, and some have big support groups of people who wade out into the water with them. hundreds of people line the shoreline; and anytime someone pops up out of the water, the whole place erupts into cheers of support.
really, it’s stunning.
1. bryson getting baptized. he was in my junior high guys small group for three years (6th through 8th grade), and is now a sophomore in high school. not only was it very cool to watch him get baptized and cheer him on, it was a special treat to see 6 of his buddies head out into the water to stand with him; and 4 of those guys were in that same junior high guys small group. two years later, they are still a spiritual support for each other. that made me super stoked for my current group of 7th grade guys that starts again this week.
2. watching tic long out there in the water pastorizing. particularly when tic baptized this one very massive dude (the guy must have been 6′ 5″ and 300 pounds of beef); and after tic pulled him up, the guy about crushed tic with a massive hug. so awesome.
3. seeing our shockingly amazing college pastor (sarah) and our fantastically awesome junior high pastor (christina) out there baptizing a bunch of people (not only college students and junior highers) and remembering that it just wasn’t that many years ago that our church would not have allowed that (which was a major bone of contention for me). i love that my church is open to change (even at the expense of losing people who disagreed with the change), and seeking god.
4. and, i just cracked up when i saw a white-haired 60-something woman getting baptized while wearing a waterproof gopro action sports video camera on her forehead. yeah, baptism-cam, baby!
5. max and i gave a ride home to one of those former junior high guys, now a high school sophomore. i asked him how his sophomore year is going so far. he said, emphatically, “oh! it’s SO much better than last year!” expecting that to mean something about how he was fitting at the school, or about him liking his classes better, i asked, “why’s that?” his response, “’cause there’s this girl in my journalism class, and she’s really pretty….”