Ever tried to explain baptism to a literal-minded seven-year-old? Kory and I faced the dilemma a couple weeks ago. A good friend was getting baptized and asked us to be present.
Just in case you don’t speak the lingo, baptism is a symbolic gesture. You know? Symbolism? Like when you take all the computer parts lying abandoned on the office floor, carry them out to the garage, and dump them in your husband’s parking space, so he can’t park until he’s done something with them.
Hmm, maybe my explanation was somewhat lacking. Okay, baptism: when a believer in Christ is reverently dunked into a tank of water to symbolize leaving their old life behind, having their sins washed away, and becoming a new person. It’s a fancy, spiritual bath, folks.
Okay, so we’re driving to church and explaining things like symbolism and non-threatening immersion and new creations to the boys. From the above paragraphs, you can see how I might have gone wrong.
After Kory and I exhausted our mental faculties trying to get the point across to our “water-is-water” seven-year-old, a silence descended upon our minivan. Then Monkey says, with fear and angst coloring his words, “Mommy, will Miss Jaime have her clothes on?”
Despite our assurance that our friend would be fully clothed, Monkey chose to go to his safe and very dry Sunday School class instead of watch the blessed event. Chunky, on the other hand, was all about watching people get dunked.
In a very sweet gesture, our friend chose to have her husband baptize her in front of the church audience. Chunky also thought this was a great idea and has been after his daddy about it ever since. “Daddy, when are you gonna baptize Mommy?”
I’m living in perpetual fear that Kory will get sick of being asked the question and decide to just get it over with in a spontaneous, ambush baptizing. He is from a Baptist background after all. Not to fear, though, if I go down, I’m taking him with me.
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