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.