Baptism is a sacred tennant of the Christian faith, across the various faith traditions. However, each tradition preforms this act in different ways, and at different ages. Some preform infant baptism, others wait until a confession of faith. Some preform baptism with just a sprinkle of water, and others by plunging into a river. This can be very confusing for children.
When I was 8 years old, I chose to be baptized. My dad was the pastor in our small country church, and every summer we would hold a church picnic at the lake. Those seeking baptism who wade in the water, cover their mouth and nose, and fall backwards. A trust fall, really, where you pray the pastor catches you and brings you back up.
I shuffled into the cold lake water, slime-covered rocks slipping under my feet. I hugged my arms across my one-piece Minnie Mouse swimsuit, ready to make a public declaration that I believed in Jesus. I was nervous, but not because of the people, more because I was trust falling into a lake. But either way, I did it. This sacred right of passage, saying I believe, and I am apart of the Church. I was ecstatic! Since I was little, I had watched young, old, new believers, rededicated…all get baptized, and now I had joined the ranks.
However, my excitement soon turned to insecurity when I shared with a friend I had been baptized. I recounted my experience, and with raised eyebrows declared ‘That’s not baptism.’ I, indeed protested, as any certain 8 year-old. However, this little tiff began to pick away at my certainty. Later, I would realize this friend was Catholic and baptized at birth, so their experience was very different than my own. But still, their questions lead to my own questions, that would continue to be revisited. Was my baptism valid? Was there’s valid? Could we both be Christians if we did baptism differently?
Clearly, I have come to a place in life where I can give an emphatic yes! Baptism may look different across the faith, but in the end, the significance stays the same. A declaration that we belong to Christ and are loved more than we can hope or imagine.
Glenys Nellist captures this sentiment in her new beautiful book: ‘Baptised in the Water.’ This is a prefect gift for any child of any age who is being baptized, and serves as a great tool for unifying us in our faith even if our practices look a little different.
What I Love
Just because of my own faith journey, I love the interdenominational approach to this book. No denomination or practice is held above another. They are all given validity through beautiful poetry and illustration.
The illustrations feature a variety of Christian approaches to baptism, and shows diversity in race, culture, age, gender, and ability. A beautiful glimpse into what the Kingdom of God actually looks like.
Glenys also shares about Jesus’ baptism and how the Holy Spirit came down, the heavens opened up, and a voice called out ‘this is my Son with whom I am pleased’ (Matthew 3:17).
Glenys encourages readers that when we are baptized we are also claiming that belovedness. We are beloved children of God, and anyone, young or old, can put that on.
What My Littles Loved
Clearly, my littles loved the babies. As my 4 year-old said ‘they’re sooooo cute!’
This book also opened the door for conversation about baptism. We asked if they had been baptized as babies. We talked about our friends that had been baptized as babies. We also talked about what baptism looks like in our faith tradition, and what they can expect if they choose to be baptized someday. They also asked question about my husband and I’m baptisms. These are all beautiful conversations that maybe would not have happened without this book.