I was raised Baptist. Very, very Baptist. Find me a Free Will Baptist hymnal, and we can play a game called “You give me a number, and I will tell you what the song is.” (I can also point you directly to the best song titles to add “under the covers” to the end of, but that’s another story for another highly irreverent day.)
Point being, I was raised Baptist. And I found Him there.
But I find Him here, too.
Standing in a hospital room, that intoxicating new baby smell in the air. In the crossing of my own hand across my chest and down, in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit-ness of it. In the Lord’s prayer and the apostles’ creed. In promising to teach this baby girl, to live the ways of Jesus in front of her and walk with her while she is in the beautiful, difficult God-process of being redeemed. In the meandering thought that maybe redemption really is a journey, walked alongside a Savior and His people, not only a prayer at an altar. In the God-with-us moment when a father raises a hand filled with water from an unholy hospital sink, and drips it onto his newborn daughter’s head. Lets it wash over her, in faith that God is in the water and the words and the room and the moment, in a capacity we can’t even start to understand. In the moment when I realize that I don’t have to understand HOW God is alive and moving in any given moment, I only have I believe that HE IS. That when we enter a room with a pure intention to fill it with His glory, He inhabits those two I AM words, holds up His end of the bargain, and simply IS.
I don’t pretend to understand baptism. I can’t wrap my tiny fingers or frail mind around any of it. I don’t know how God’s presence is in it, or what His presence accomplishes through it. I don’t believe He expects us to have it all figured out, to have His mystery down to a measurable and articulable theology in order for Him to show up and be God. So regardless of all the things I don’t have figured out, this much I know to be true:
When His people come together in His name, even with their messy theologies and frustration over their lack of ability to capsulize the divine, He’s there. He’s in it. And I want to be where He is. I want my goddaughter to be where He is.
The presence of Christ has to be enough to satisfy my doctrine. If it’s not, I fear I have some things all kinds of backwards.