On Sunday, after the baptisms, a few people stopped to express to me their joy at what they’d seen. I think they didn’t really know what to say, so they patted me on the back and said, “Good job this morning.” I tried to look past the words to see the sentiment and responded something like, “Yes, it was a great morning.” It didn’t seem like the time for a theology lesson.
Now seems like a good time for a theology lesson. Here are some thoughts:
- I was singled out because I was the person that lowered them into the water. I was the visible face of something that involved a great many people. Because these men had been around for a long time, lots of our members have spent time discussing spiritual things with them. There are a few that I would especially single out as having been important in helping these men come to know Christ. My role was pretty minor.
- I would rather see people baptized by someone else’s hand. It’s true. The only exception I can think of is when my kids were baptized. I selfishly wanted to be a part of that moment. Otherwise, I would much rather someone else do the baptizing, especially if there is someone who is particularly close to the one being baptized. This is especially true when I’m in other countries (I wrote about this a while back). I don’t want one baptism to seem more special than others because it was done by a foreigner.
- I am firmly convinced that the one doing a “good job” at a baptism is God’s Holy Spirit. The rest of us are role players. What matters is that He is present and working. Baptism is a work, but it is a work of God, not a human work.
Stopping to think, the ones who spoke to me on Sunday would know these things. They were looking for something to say and hit upon a common phrase in our culture. I just want to remind us all of some things that should be obvious.