Thursday, March 17, 2016

Day 32: Thursday: The presence of God

When I was 15, I attended a baptismal service at the church one Sunday evening … At the end of the service I indicated that I was interested being baptised myself. It was August.
    I joined a study class with a few peers to prepare. It was held at the same time on Sunday mornings as the All-Age Sunday School. I expected there would be about six classes then we would be baptised. It ended up taking eight months. Other people kept joining the group until the last few weeks – I suppose it was like the parable of the workers in the field! The date kept being pushed back as there were more “important” events in the church program. I had thought that baptism was top of the list in a Baptist church – but I was only 15 – so perhaps I did not understand.
    Eventually on Sunday April 10, at the age of 16, I was baptised with eight other young people aged between about 15 and 21. That afternoon I had ridden my bike up to Ringwood Lake and spent some time reflecting and praying there on what I would say as my testimony. I was baptised in my Crystal Cylinders t-shirt and my white cricket pants in the lukewarm water of the Heathmont Baptist Church in front of a pretty full church of 200 or so which included my parents – a rarity, especially for my Dad.
    I remember vividly the rousing organ playing “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days, all the days of my life” as I emerged from the water. It was a euphoric experience – I felt the presence of God and the significance of the event.

At your baptism, were you aware of God’s presence? Have you been aware of it at other times? Sit quietly, and take the time to sense God’s presence now.
Reflection by Paul Holdway, South Yarra Community Baptist Church, 10 January 2016. For full text, click here.

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