Childhood Memories Friday: Baptism Memories

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Today, some baptism memories:

At my church growing up, each service ended with an “invitation.”    I should probably explain that, because I now go to a church that doesn’t have one.  At the end of the service, we would sing a hymn and anyone in the congregation who was being led of the Lord was invited forward to “make a decision for Christ,” (i.e., become a Christian), “recommit your life,” etc.

For several months when I was 9, I remember knowing that I should become a Christian, but I was nervous to go to the front of church.  Since my mom played piano, we sat on the second row – but it still seemed like a long walk to make.  After several weeks of deliberating (nudged along by Dr. Silver’s admonition to avoid hell, “where there is weeping, and gnashing of teeth”) I went to the front to make my decision.

After the service, I stood at the front as I was congratulated by the congregation passing by.  I remember being somewhat surprised that I was joined by some of my “colorful” Sunday School cohorts, who came to stand by me for support.

Baptism, held once a month, happened to be that night.  Before going to church that evening I was too nervous to eat my Filet O Fish (Sunday night McDonald’s was a weekly treat).  After the service my mom heated it up in the double boiler.  There weren’t microwaves then; you heated things up this way.  There was a pot in which you’d put about an inch of water.  A smaller pot sat inside this one and you put the item to be heated in it.  Steam from the boiling water would heat the item; it took awhile though.

For my baptism, I walked through the mystical (at least they seemed that way to my young self) labyrinth of rooms upstairs by the baptismal pool, and put on a white robe.   Dr. Silver practiced with me a few times – how to hold his arm, then lean backwards while he would put a handkerchief over my nose – thankfully it wasn’t too hard!  When it was my turn, I walked down the steps into the water and was baptized.

It was momentous, being saved and baptized all in one day.  I remember Dr. Silver saying it was such a great day to make that decision, as it was Pentecost:  June 2, 1974.

“I am the door; by me if any man enter he shall be saved.” – the verse Dr. Silver read after I was baptized.

 

8 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Baptism Memories

  1. I’ve never before heard this. Thanks so much for including it. For me, I was saved at the age of 13 and later baptized in a church in E’ville (our church didn’t have a baptismal tank) on the same night your grandpa and Mary Ellen were baptized.

  2. I’ve never thought about posting on my baptism, but it was a similar experience to yours… I was young, but older than when most of my church friends were baptized. I was so apprehensive to do it for years, but at a DC Talk concert (that’s dating me, huh) I really felt God ask me to take that step. I decided to that night, and was baptized at my small church about a month later. We went out for spaghetti to celebrate…that seems funny but sweet to me now….thanks for reminding me….have a great weekend!

  3. I remember how scared I was to get baptized! I STILL can’t go under water without holding my nose, and as a child I just knew I was going to be the one person to drown during baptism. 🙂

  4. Ah, baptism! What a wonderful thing. I am currently contemplating baptism for my two children who are 8 years old. When they were infants, we went to another church that only dedicated them. While it’s sufficient, to my Greek Orthodox roots there is nothing like Holy Water!! There is something mystical and magical about the entire process.
    Thank you for letting me in on your baptism! 🙂 I love this stuff!

  5. Hi Susan, Thanks for sharing your baptism story! I was only 8 when I had a similar experience about accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. My parents thought that I was a bit too young yet, but my Father went up front with me to kneel down at the altar. (My church also had “invitations” at the end of most services, too.) It was on Thursday evening of a revival meeting, and I have always been glad that I accepted Jesus into my heart at an early age! I actually listened to the sermons and took them quite seriously, believe it or not.
    Thanks for sparking a happy memory of childhood for me. My father died when I was 11 years old (almost 12) so all of the above really meant even more to me after that, since I was happy that he knew where I stood before making his trip to Heaven. I will be turning 70 this year, but I can remember the evening very well, including exactly where my family was sitting at church that night. I had been baptized as a baby in September following my July 8 birth, and I have the Baptismal Certificate in a scrapbook about many important events in my life. When I was 14 I was baptized again along with several other young teenagers
    on a Sunday morning during church. We had just completed a short course of catechism classes at Pleasant Chapel Evangelical United Brethren Church. We were sprinkled and not immersed, though. In retrospect I sort of wish that I had been baptized by total immersion, especially after witnessing all 3 of my grandchildren doing this on the same evening a few years back. It was a great experience!

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing from you.