On my pastor’s recommendation last weekend, I decided to read through the book of Romans this week. I thought maybe it could help me get a handle on some things. Namely, why I lack the courage to receive good things from God like health, living freely, peace of mind. And, as I’m reading, a few things do jump out and that’s all fine. Then I get to Romans 6. The passages are familiar to me but always come across as “Therefore, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” The New American Standard translation says in Rom 6:4 “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” or from The Message “That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land! That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus.”
Could my inability to easily embrace this newness of life be about baptism?
I was baptized as an infant. I was baptized as an adult when I first accepted Christ. I was not immersed in water. I was sprinkled with it. My old church did not do dunking until the next year. Long story. For the last 17 or so years, I lamented that I never got to have a “proper” baptism but didn’t feel I should get re-baptized just because I didn’t get what I wanted. My sprinkling was a public declaration of my faith and it was very meaningful to me then. Yet something is missing every time I hear about or participate in someone else’s baptism. And something is missing every time I read or hear this scripture. I can’t identify with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Would having a full immersion baptism finally fill in the gap after all these years? Would getting baptized again be just an exercise or would it solidify a sense of unity with Christ? For me its not about a public declaration anymore. A private baptism would be fine too, I think. Things I’m pondering with my church now as we prepare for our annual baptism celebration in August.