Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ready for Baptism ~ Part Two

Sunday morning dawned and we prepared to go to church. Before we left Mom and Daddy told me how glad they were to be celebrating this great occasion in my life when I would start becoming part of the family of God. And how fresh, clean, and forgiven I would feel right after being baptized. I would not be considered a full part of the church family until I partook of communion several weeks later.

I really looked forward to experience that, not that I considered myself to be a sinner. I knew I wasn't perfect, but considered myself to be a good person.

After everyone was seated in the church house and the singing started we joined the ministers in their little conference room for the last time where they talked to us about the sacred importance of the vows we would be making later that day.

When we were dismissed we went back into the church house but this time instead of sitting at our usual places we sat on the front bench that had been reserved for us. Church continued much the same as any other service and then it was time to be baptized. The bishop addressed us and once said if we were still willing to forsake all the world has to offer and our own desires and come to God and the church we can kneel down.

As we knelt he asked if we believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. We took turns answering "Yes, I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God.  He then asked if we can promise to stay with the church until we die. Again we answered "yes."  The next question was if we promised to help keep the church the way it is supposed to be by helping vote, work, and discipline. Again we each answered with a yes. 

He then asked the rest of the church to stand while he read a long prayer from the little black prayer book. My legs were beginning to fall asleep from kneeling so long and my knees were creaking. Finally he got to the end of his prayer and everyone sat down. The bishop's wife came and removed my covering while the bishop cupped his hands above my head and one of the ministers brought a cup of water and poured three small trickles of water into his hand as the bishop said I now baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and smoothed his hands over my head. I waited expectantly for this great feeling of cleansing that Mom and Daddy and the preachers had talked about but other than my slightly damp hair I felt exactly as I had before.

I felt disappointed and wondered what was wrong with me that I didn't feel anything different as the bishops wife replaced my covering, gave me a holy kiss and presented me to the rest of the church as a new member. As I sat down the bishop said that he always has to think. What nicer time to die than right now when all your sins are forgiven."  I squirmed uncomfortably in my seat knowing that I didn't feel a bit more ready to die than I ever had.

After church was over all my uncles and aunts gathered for dinner in honor of the important milestone in my life. Most of them gave words of encouragement about the important journey I embarked on as a child of God. A few added that it was very comforting to know that even if I happen to do something I shouldn't after I'm baptized that communion is a sort of renewing. I was so relieved to hear that and hoped that sometime I would start feeling as if I truly was a child of God because though I knew I was considered to be one now I still didn't feel different.

13 comments:

  1. "I felt exactly as I had before." Sigh. You were not alone. I appreciate the honesty in your posts and in recalling these memories.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I understand how you felt. My dad as a child was in a similar church and knew he craved something he still didn't have....so kept searching on...and DID find real peace in his heart, but elsewhere!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just read Part One also and I know a LOT of us can relate to those conflicted feelings and I think that's great that you're being so open about it. Thanks for sharing this - I know it was a big time in your life, conflicted feelings and all! ♥

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for sharing. It seems that every denomination and culture has their various traditions and rituals, but nothing can do for your soul what Jesus's saving grace can do.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That is so interesting.
    Now I hope this doesn't rub anyone the wrong way but I have had my own spiritual journey in this life. I have realized that Christ is truly our Savior and he has led by example. An example he wants all of us to follow.
    In the bible Christ was baptized by immersion through the Holy Priesthood by John the Baptist. He didn't do it because he needed to be cleansed of his sins but, rather as an example to us of what we should do.
    Afterwards a dove decended as he received the Holy Ghost.
    That is the way we do it in our church. Baptized by full immersion and given the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by the Holy Priesthood of God. I think it makes such a difference.
    Sorry I don't mean to sound preachy but I never could see why other churches do not follow Christ's example. I could see where doing something different would leave you feeling a little...short.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow, what a vivid remembrance of that moment that was so like it in my own baptism. I love the details -- I was right there with you, with the feelings, the removal of the covering, the water being smoothed over the head, the holy kiss... About the only difference between your experience and my own is that our church services were held in homes instead of a church building... and oh, I cried. At that moment I felt more trapped than I ever had before. My sister later told me they didn't look like happy tears... that's probably because they weren't.

    I look forward to more of your beautiful renditions of a former life. Does it feel that way to you... that you've lived one life in the Amish community, and now you are living another outside the community? It does for me.

    Someday someone should get a group of us who have left the Amish together and call the gathering "Bygone Bonnets."

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bygone Bonnets ... what a lovely name for you all to gather around.

    Being a Catholic we do things so differently, but all that preaching about how 'holy' we were going to be after we received communion, was rather confusing ... as I sure didn't feel any differently either ... just had a lot of fun opening gifts, everyone fussing over the beautiful dress Mother made me & a great dinner ... had no clue what all the hoopla was about until much later into life.

    I love reading about your experiences in life ... you share so honestly & from the heart ...
    Thank you.

    Have a lovely summer's eve ~
    TTFN ~ Marydon

    ReplyDelete
  8. wow! thankyou for sharing. "I felt exactly as I had before" me too. My heart cried out to me "do not do it!" but as the rest did, I knelt and made all those promises.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great remembrance. I like your honest presentation.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have been following your blog and I love the way you write about your childhood.
    Thanks for sharing such an amazing story.
    have a great day.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I wish I could recall such detail from my childhood. What a gift of narration. The absolute unadorned honesty is a key to this great blog I'm sure. Once again thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I felt the same way after my first baptism when I was 12. I just got wet, nothing was different, because I was still an unsaved girl.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.