Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Five: The Water and the Word

In this Sunday's gospel Nicodemus asks Jesus, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Poor old Nicodemus! He was so confused about the whole "water and Spirit" business of baptism.

For today's five, tell us about your baptismal experiences.

When and where were you baptized? Do you remember it? Know any interesting
I remember it because I was 14 or 15, and I remember the incredible awkwardness of being in front of all those people in the sanctuary. That was part of my introverted time, and I didn't like being the center of attention. It was later that I came to realize that I was the center of God's attention, too, in those moments.

What's the most unexpected thing you've ever witnessed at a baptism?
A short pastor trying to immerse a tall teenager in a shallow baptismal font. It was pretty funny...

Does your congregation have any special traditions surrounding baptisms?
The prayer shawl ministry presents each infant with a hand-knitted or crocheted baby blanket. Someday soon I'll finish one and have it included. We also walk infants and toddlers around the sanctuary so that everyone can see. (Older people (from about 4 to however old they turn out to be) are greeted by the congregation during the meeting time.)

Are you a godparent or baptismal sponsor? Have a story to tell?
I have a great post-baptism story...Years ago Ben baptized a baby girl named Carrie Ellen. As is our practice, he reminded the congregation that in their vows, they commit to becoming family to Carrie Ellen, and Ben's usually pretty funny and folksy when he does that. A couple of months after her baptism, Carrie Ellen's dad died unexpectedly during a routine surgical procedure. The Sunday after the funeral, Ben walked Carrie Ellen around the sanctuary and reminded them of their vows, and that she was their child, too. The congregation adopted that child and her mother, and to this day help Carrie Ellen and her mom with yard work, child care, dance lessons, rides to and from soccer practice...whatever is needed. Sometimes it really works!

Do you have a favorite baptismal song or hymn?
Not so much. Seems like there's one I'm fond of in The Faith We Sing, but I can't remember what it might be. :(


  1. That congregation is awesome! Hard to believe.

  2. Thanks for the great story about Carrie Ellen. The church it at its best when it is a real community. Great Play!

  3. What an amazing story about Carrie Ellen. What an awesome congregation!

  4. Thank you for sharing Carrie Ellen and Ben's story. That's what church should be all about.

  5. I love that post-baptism story! Wish that always happened.

  6. The story about Carrie Ellen is great. This care and keeping is what I'm working with our congregation to begin to do.

  7. What a great story. And it's true that in our baptism service we all take vows, not just the "official" godparents. It's good to be reminded of that.

  8. How wonderful for Carrie Ellen and the family.

    My husband is 6'5" and was baptized by a pastor about 5'2". Yes, awkward. But the congregation actually tittered, which was not so nice. For DH it was a profound moment.


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