Aloha Friday
Chloë's 11th Birthday

El Bautismo - The Baptism

If you missed it, the pictures from the kids' and my baptism are on this post. By request, here are the details of the big event:

First, I want to say that all four of us have always been Christian. As for me, I was raised as a Christian Scientist, so although I believe I was already baptised, I had never had a water baptism. (CS is not even remotely related to Scientology, by the by.) When I was 21, I read the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, which was given to me by my BFF, Dr. Lisa, and I had a major identity crisis and mental breakdown about who I was as a Christian. After a week's respite at my dad's house, I decided to leave Christian Science and become, simply, a non-denominational Christian. I remain so and have wrestled with the decision to get baptised by water and start taking Communion in the 15 years hence.

Then, you may remember, Team Odette went to my friend Saritah's and her kids' water baptism at their church, back in the Spring of this year. It was a powerful moment for us, but speaking for myself, I finally felt the calling of the Holy Spirit filling me, urging me to do the same. And so it was decided. We discussed baptism with the children, who we always believed should come to the decision to be so on their own and therefore did not baptise as babies (save our late son, Robby), and Chloë decided she would be baptised along with me.

Our church, the Vineyard, baptises at the YMCA in the colder months and at the Virginia Beach oceanfront in the warmth of Summer. Naturally, we wanted the bigger impact of the latter, so we waited. We missed each month's baptism until this past Sunday, when finally we were able to go to the class in the morning at church, and have all our questions and concerns answered, before meeting at the beach at 1400.

First, we had a worship session, with a man who brought a guitar, amp, and a nice, if somewhat too quiet over the waves, voice. In all our 9 years of attending the Vineyard, I'd never seen him before, which piqued my interest. Not only that, but he was the doppelgänger of my Ph.D. program lead scientist, Dr. Motta, so I had a hard time keeping my eyes off him throughout the singing. It was just surreal, the likeness. But anyway, I digress.

After worship, we all - 30 or so in number - got into a big circle near the water, and went around with each, um, baptee (?) introducing him- or herself and saying why they wanted to be baptised. I explained what I said above, while the children had different answers, of course. I can't remember exactly what they said, but Chloë said because she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, Jack said I have no clue what because the waves drowned out his little pipsqueak voice (aw), and Sophia said she wanted to be saved from God. I had translated this at church, when we did a similar rendition, as 7yo speak for "saved FROM her sins, BY God," so they didn't question her verbiage at the beach.

At last, it was time to start the water baptisms. They went in order of the sign-in sheet from class, and we were about halfway thru the pages. Finally, it was my turn. The class facilitator and another woman from the Prayer Team prayed over me, that I would receive the Holy Spirit, more stuff I remember but don't feel like typing out (pretty intuitive things if you've been through it, though), and that I was God's Princess. I liked that.

Then, I headed giddily for the water, where the facilitator's husband and Dr. Motta's twin were waiting to dunk me. The waves were high and the current strong, and I got knocked down a few times, needing their help to stand back up, before we got to the actual plunge. The same happened with all three kids nad just about everyone else! I'd never seen such big waves here in Virginia.

At last, after saying a few words themselves, I crossed my arms over my chest and plugged my nose, as we'd been shown, and they leaned me back, let the wave rush over me, and pulled me up. That was it! I was baptised - and thrilled to the gills over it!

Chloë Raine went next. She received her prayer and then, at the last moment, asked her daddy to go with her to help. He gladly went in, jeans and all, to help his baby girl be baptised. He handed me his iPhone, which we'd been using to capture the pictures of the event, but I messed up and didn't get any pictures of her dunking, darn it.

Jack River was up next. He had been the most reluctant Baptee, because of the big waves, but after receiving his prayer, he ran right toward the water happily, without Daddy, even though he had originally begged for Rob and me to take him in! I don't know whether he was called God's Prince; he refused to discuss the matter, as is typical for him.

Sophia Lorelei went last for Team Odette. She received her prayer and tore into the water to get baptised like a gang of kids who've just seen candy spilled from a piñata! Her baptism was a little troubled, as she tumbled and drank water and thought she'd be drowned. After it was over, she ran past me, calling her name, straight up the beach and hid in the sand dunes. I called her back, but she refused to come out. I waited, and when she still wouldn't come, I went up there to coax her out. She was frightened, poor thing, but later on relayed that she was happy she was baptised after all.

We watched the rest of the baptisms - including that of a paraplegic, which was intriguing to many of us as far as the logistics were concerned - and then that was it. As a group, we walked back up the beach to the boardwalk landing, took some group and individual pictures - which will no doubt end up in a future bulletin or PowerPoint presentation at church - and said our good-byes.

And just like that, it was over. It was wonderful, amazing, and powerful an episode in the life of me, and I hope for the children, too. I commented to Rob on the way back to Penelope, "I guess I start taking Communion now, too, huh?" and, I have to admit, I'm nervous about it! I don't know what to do, other than go up, get the stuff, and consume it, but I suppose there's not much more to do than that, eh?

That night, we talked about it at our weekly Family Meeting, and Rob and I congratulated and praised the kids for being baptised and choosing Christ to govern their lives. I need all the prayer I can get, myself, but for them, I will forever and always pray that their relationship with God grows and strengthens, wherever their lives may lead them.