Today I had the pleasure of witnessing a dear friend's baptism in the river. I'd never been to a baptism outside of the church, so I was anxious not only to witness the event but to see what it was all about. On my long drive to Pineville, my mind began to wonder about baptisms during Jesus' walk on the earth. Church can become so ritualistic and dry at times that our man-made routines seem to take away from the WOW factor of a baptism. (Don't get me wrong; I love my church and church family, but sometimes wish things weren't always the same.) I wondered what it would be like to not worry about how warm the baptistry water is or if we had the batteries charged on our camera and camcorder. I pondered the thought of a simplistic time when you didn't need an image to capture the event because the event was imbedded in your mind and so intimate between you and the Lord that it couldn't ever possibly be forgotten. Isn't it ironic that we create these inventions to make our life simpler and fuller, yet our lives become more cluttered and we never feel full? I think we're being mislead.
Once I arrived in Pineville and I followed my friend to the river after church services, we stood along the riverbank. Before anything proceded, the minister read through some doctrines with the church encouraging those being baptised as well as requested for the church itself to uplift and teach the babies of the faith. Then, while the church was waiting for the new Christians to get down into the river, we began singing beautiful hymns. Before long, it was one by one, "down with the old man and up with the new," as Randy Travis and Kenny Chesney described in a duet which I'd grown fond of years ago. And you know what, it was simplistic. It was real. It was perfect. There were no destractions from anything except for God's creation. I found myself wishing I, myself, had a river baptism. I quickly reminded myself it doesn't matter where you do it, as the water isn't what saves you, but I was still so moved by the experience that I wished I'd experienced it from the river. See, I'm one of those "don't-wanna-get-dirty-or-sweaty-type-of-people." However today, it just didn't matter.
So, I challenge you to this: Don't get hung up on the modern-day comforts of our churches. Don't inhibit the Holy Spirit to move in your life because the temperature in the sanctuary was a little warm today, so-and-so brought her noisy kids to church again, or because some tall guy blocked your view from the pew. Life is short and we tend to make it so shallow. I feel like Paul because that which I know I should do, I don't do and that which I know I shouldn't do, I do. So trust me, I'm preaching to myself. How aggravating to fight yourself! I want to be able to reflect on what the Lord wants me to learn each day and not on man-made inventions or rituals. I almost didn't go this morning due to lack of sleep, but I sure would've missed a blessing. I hope you have a blessed week enjoying God's creation and dwelling upon the things that matter.