Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Baptisms on the Beach

Last Saturday, a new convert to our small branch decided to get baptized in the relatively cooler waters of the Gulf of Mexico. (Around here that would be pronounced “guff.”) One of our members has a beautiful home right on the water and built it with these kinds of activities in mind. Most of the attendees spent the first moments passing each other on the walkway out to the water. It was a chilly, cloudy morning. Most of us were commenting on how cold it was. (FYI here cold is 60 degrees.) I’m not sure it was wise to have us face the stunningly beautiful water as the talk on baptism commenced. I found myself contemplating the beauty of the earth and not focusing in on the talk. Then we walked down to the water.

Just as his close friend lowered the new convert into the water, I’m not kidding here, the sun broke through the clouds and stayed out the rest of the day. It was pure magic, the stuff of fairy tales.

Once we were all settled in for the talk on the Holy Ghost and welcoming into the branch, I again found myself staring at the beach. It was an awesome experience. And being the history oriented person I am, I thought of how many baptisms went on in the Gulf maybe even centuries ago. And how much like a jewel this earth is. I’m not poetic but I hope you get the picture.

I turned to my niece who I am happy to report has decided to join the church and asked her if she would like to also be baptized on the beach. She looked at me with mock horror and said, “Oh no, I would never be able to concentrate on what was happening, I’ll take the traditional font route.” I sighed both because I understood and because I wanted another magical moment.

3 comments:

  1. Beautifully put, Terri. Reminds me of the many different baptisal spots I've seen. I was baptized in an irrigation canal in Idaho. Charles baptized one of our sons in an olympic-size swimming pool in Japan, and another in a small font constructed of tin in the back yard of the Mission Home in Tokyo. We held one baptism in a member's bathroom in an extra-large tub, another in a rented home with an eight by ten indoor swimming pool (or family bath). The servicemen's district president even rented with the mission president's approval, a Baptist chapel in Tokyo and used their glassed-in baptismal font, raised like a giant fish tank against the wall beind the podium, and easily visible to all the congregation.

    I wasn't there, but two of my grandsons were baptized by their father in the Sesquehanna River, as near as can be surmised to the spot where Joseph and Oliver were baptized.

    The places may be exotic, mundane or interesting, but the words, actions, and resultant promises never vary. Only, as Moroni puts it, 'according to the unbelief of the children of men.

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  2. How wonderful was that? What a great baptism. That event alone would help your testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Wonderful entry.

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  3. I love these kind of experiences. They truly are magical. I can relate to your friends desire to focus on her baptism. I'm glad she recognizes her need to focus on the meaning of her baptism. our oldest granddaughter is getting baptized in March...in Wyoming. Some of the family wanted her to wait until June to be baptized since other cousins will be of age and those parents thought it would be special to hold the baptisms in the Sweet Water River at Martin's Cove. Sounds very special doesn't it! However, my wise and loving daughter knows how cold that water is and how unpredictable the weather can be there. She wants Melissa to remember the spiritual feelings she will have at her baptism, rather than how cold and miserable she felt.

    Thanks for the timely blog. I thought it was wonderful.

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