Three grandsons in the water. One man baptizing two younger cousins. I couldn’t help but show just about everyone I met the pictures on my phone.
“Full immersion?” one man asked.
“Yep. That’s how we do it,” I replied.
How we do it.
Different modes for different traditions. Some immerse. Some pour. Some sprinkle.
And many of us just know we are doing it the right way.
But is the call to baptize–immerse or wash by dipping–literal or metaphorical?
Immersion reminds us of Christ’s literal burial. But sprinkling reflects the application of lamb’s blood to Hebrew doorposts during the original Passover. Catholic, Orthodox, and some liturgical Protestant believers liken infant baptism to circumcision. The Orthodox immerse. Catholics pour but recognize any of the three modes as valid.
The Christian Research Institute asserts that immersion is a biblical norm that assumes when Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch “went down into the water,” the Ethiopian was immersed. But CRI also points out that pouring is an appropriate method when water is in short supply or when someone is physically incapable of climbing into a baptistry.
A shortage of water is something I had not considered before. Every body of believers doesn’t have access to a container big enough to immerse an adult or water enough to fill it if they had one. Not every new believer can navigate a baptistry.
Some people are baptized as infants and grow to become devout Christ followers. Some people are immersed as teens or adults and do the same. And one way or the other, some people simply get wet. The results of having been baptized never show up in their lives. No change ever comes to their hearts.
That’s what matters most. It isn’t how wet we got at our baptism. It’s the state of our hearts as we walk our way as followers of Christ.
The Christian walk is a new walk. A new way.
Walking that way shows we are His.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Second Photo Credit: two cousins’ aunt