My Two Cents
January 12, 2020, 12:00 AM

I remember thinking, “What? Are you kidding me?”, when my mom told me that my sister and I would be spending the next six Saturday mornings at the home- in the study, no less- of Reverend Burgess, the  minister of our church. Let’s be clear, this guy was not the warm and fuzzy type. He was more like the red-faced, bombastic type. His idea of a children’s moment was to pause his sermon for a moment to single out the children who were squirming in their pews. I learned from his son that Reverend Burgess had lost the use of one of his lungs in WWII. But that didn’t seem to affect his ability to project. And these classes definitely preceded the days when my sister and I decided it was okay to like each other.

 

“But why?” I’m sure we both asked in indignant astonishment.

 

And we were told that we would be going to his house- just the two of us- so we could learn all we needed to know to become a follower of Jesus and get baptized. The plan was that we would take the classes in the spring from Reverend Burgess. Then in the summer, during our annual visit with family through the Midwest, our beloved Uncle Kenneth, also a Disciples minister (but a much quieter one), would immerse us in the living waters of Holy Baptism at his church in Indianapolis.

 

To be honest I don’t remember much about the baptism except that Uncle Kenneth got us down into the water and back up again without dropping us- and that my sister made me go first. But, I have vivid memories of those long, awkward mornings sitting in Reverend Burgess’ study. Now that I think of it, he probably felt the same way we did.

 

So, there you have it. My baptism story. Not remarkable. No descending doves. No big crowds. And if there had been a voice from the heavens it probably would have said something like, “I guess he’ll do.”

 

Some of us have more remarkable baptism stories- more like Jesus’ story. For some of us there was a dramatic moment of decision and a spontaneous trip to the nearest source of water. For others, Godparents hovered near the priest, promised to help mom and dad raise us, and made good on that promise.

 

But wherever our own particular baptism story happens to fall on the cool spectrum, it is important to remember that it is only a story of the beginning. And beginnings are usually as unremarkable as they are important. The first steps we take as a child won’t define how far we can walk. The first day of class doesn’t usually determine how well we do on the final. But, without beginning, we wouldn’t be able to go very far.

 

And so today we mark Jesus’ baptism. The Bible makes it sound like it was quite a day. But I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point along the way Jesus’ mom didn’t have to say, “Get your nose out of that scroll son, John is here this weekend and we are all going down to the river”.

 

Welcome to worship!