Tuesday, October 2, 2012

20 Seconds of Beautiful Insanity

You know what the best part of life is?  To me, it's the crazy, beautiful things that happen when we finally let the walls of fear that we have carefully constructed for so long come crashing down around us.  So often the decisions we make are based on fear of the unknown.  What would happen if you just let go, took your hands off the steering wheel, and handed your life over to someone so much greater than you? Someone who knows the number of your days on this earth and how many hairs you have upon your head.  Someone whose love for you exceeds the love you bear for your own children.  Don't know about you, but that one just blows my mind.  Consider it blown.  How could He love me with my messed up junk THAT much?

But, He does.  You know how I know? Because the decisions that He has made for me...the path that he has set me upon, can be tough as hell, but is ALWAYS so much greater, more wonderful than anything I could ever have dreamed for myself.  Unfortunately, I usually have to be up *&^$ creek without a paddle before I throw my hands up and ask for help.  And still...He waits.  Patiently.  

Today was one of those unexpected beautiful moments that I might have missed out on if I hadn't shown up to see what He would do.  My desire this morning was to curl up in bed with a good book or spend some quality couch time with my Mom, Dad, and brother, who were in town this weekend.   My oldest girl had a fever, which would have been the perfect excuse for Mama to skip church, but I had this nagging feeling that I would regret it if I sat this one out.  

As the service started, it just felt special...charged with electricity.  By the second song, I was "raising the roof," as my cousin likes to call it.  You know, the ridiculous hand waving thing that we Jesus freaks like to do when moved by the spirit?  I'll own it, that's me.  Don't laugh; yours may just creep up on ya one day and before you know it you'll be doing the wind shield wipers.  As the third song played, we watched videos of people from our congregation, men and women from all walks of life, sharing their life changing stories of faith in Jesus Christ.  With a full heart, I remembered the moment when I gave my broken self to Jesus, and I cried just a little.

I never could have guessed what came next.  

Our pastor talked about the choice we make daily between fear and faith.  We watched this video clip from "We Bought a Zoo," about 20 seconds of insane courage leading to absolute greatness; in other words, a leap of faith.  And then he asked those of us who had made a decision for Christ, or who were ready to do so, to step forward and be baptized, as a public profession of our faith in Jesus. 

Wow. Um...if you haven't done this as an adolescent or adult.  Lemme just say.  This ain't no joke.  Not to mention that our church holds about 1,000 people during any given service.  Just imagine stepping out of fear, shoving down the gut wrenching social anxiety, and stepping into faith in front of hundreds of people.  That, is what I call insane courage.  I watched as ten, then twenty, then thirty, then forty, then over fifty people tearfully stepped forward.  

My cousin and her husband were among them.  She is my best friend, my sister, and I have never been so proud.  I stood watching as one person after another joyfully proclaimed their faith and stepped into a waiting pool.  I snapped away on the camera in disbelief as first she, then her very private husband, were submerged into the water and raised up smiling.  Their boys stood smiling shyly by my side; uncertain, but proud of Mom and Dad.  The crowd cheered and I'm certain, we were all equally awestruck by this sudden public display of faith by more than fifty people. 

I learned later that out of three services, there were 278 people baptized on Sunday.

You may be thinking this is all a little "woo-woo".  Am I right?  What are those crazy people going to do next?  Snake handling?  Dancing in the aisles with tambourines?  Start visiting a polygamist hairdresser?  I know, I know.  I get it.  Maybe you are wondering what was wrong with the first baptism many of these people had as infants?  

I can only offer you my point of view, simple as it may be.  Hubby and I christened both of our daughters as babies in the Macedonian Orthodox church.  This was a decision we made out of respect for our family's traditions and beliefs.  But more than that, we had a desire to make a statement to God and the community, that we would do everything in our power to raise our children to love Christ.  Nothing could ever take away from that experience or lessen it's importance.  

Choosing to be baptized as a young person or an adult is an entirely different event.  There is no magic in the water.  There are no rules about who gets to do it.  Jesus himself was baptized as an adult, in a lake, by his cousin, John.  It can be done in a pool, in a tub, or heck, even in a trough.  Got a plastic baby pool?  That works too!  

The magic lies in the fact that someone is brave enough to step forward on trembling legs and publicly display the change that has already taken place internally.  The magic happens when someone chooses to tell the world that they believe that Jesus is the son of God, and by placing their faith in Him, they are a new creation, forgiven and free.

This is what I believe.  

But, I also believe that God loves each hair on our heads, each freckle, and each wart, regardless of whether or not we get dunked.  Hubby has not done this yet, and trust me, he is a far better believer than I am on most days of the week.  He inspires me in my faith daily.  Who am I to tell him to volunteer for a one man water show (he can't swim!) for a few hundred people?  That is between him and God, and they seem to be doing just fine without my help.  

I will leave you with the video of the Athens Church baptism extravaganza because a picture is worth a thousand words!  

Acts 22:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 "And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name."


  1. Beautiful, amazing, powerful. God's power and love is so amazing!

  2. Thank you Katie. I love you. -Sis

  3. It sounds like you guys had a really powerful weekend!!!