"I was baptized as an infant?!"
The first words out of my mouth when I called my mom on her cell at 10:30pm two nights ago.
After pulling up carpet in my back bedroom and putting down laminate floors, everything I had removed from the bedroom had to go back in. That's when I discovered the baptismal certificate pasted into the "religious events" page of my baby album which I had found and had been flipping through.
"I don't remember that..." my mom said, waking up and probably trying to discern why the hell I was calling to tell her this an hour and a half into her night's sleep.
"Well there's a certificate in my baby book that says otherwise," I informed her, indignant. "It has a minister's name and my name and the date. And it's glued in my baby book!"
Now, it should be noted that I have no problem with infant baptism. It is not a practice of my denomination, nor is it my preference for the baptism of a believer, but I understand what it symbolizes theologically and respect the tradition. But I'm also a baptist minister and I feel that knowing whether or not i was baptized as an infant and then re-baptized as a nine year old is fairly critical to my identity. I mean, this is my story, my life story, my story with God...
Everything I believed and knew to be true was now marked a lie! How could no one have told me this?!
Okay, i'm being melodramatic. But it was shocking and a little unnerving to say the least.
"Mike, do you remember that?" My mother inquired of my father who was now awake.
"You'd think a mother would remember her baby being baptized. I don't think it happened, Ann."
"Well, it's from Huffman United Methodist Church and I'm looking at the certificate with my name on it right now," I began to read the entire certificate over the phone.
"I'll ask Grandma tomorrow," Mother said. "Goodnight."
Huffman is my grandparents church. My parents began attending Wyatt Park Baptist when I was two (so they recalled). I'm not sure where they went before that...
Grandma doesn't think it happened either. Mom called me back the next day. And surely if your parents can't remember your grandparents would. Right?
So it's a mystery. Or a joke. Or just a really strange discovery.
But there's a baptismal certificate pasted into my baby book commemorating a day that apparently never happened, a covenant that never occurred.
And so the choice I made nine years later, confessing to my pastor that I loved God and wanted to be with God forever, stands. And the water that washed over me as I submerged, dying to myself and was then raised from, resurrected into a new life with Jesus Christ remains the most special and significant water I will ever enter. And though the Hydrogen and Oxygen compound is at it's most basic description just elements and numbers, it is a memory that is charged with symbolism, tradition and yes, something even magical. I left that pool of water changed - lighter, freer and even my nine-year-old heart and mind knew it.
The faith of a child... No wonder Jesus always said let the children come to me...
Thanks be to God.