This past Sunday I had a chance to bring some of my Youth Group girls to a BBQ & Baptism (you can watch it Here!) that my church was doing. It was a wonderful time of fellowship, food, and lots of fun, but probably my favorite part of the day is where I pulled my girls aside to talk to them about what baptism IS. When everyone started to move towards the ocean for the baptism, they wanted to stay behind and keep playing volleyball, but I said no, I think you guys should experience this! So I herded them to the front so they could see everything, and we even went out into the water with a small group when they went to do the actual baptizing. As I stood there watching, I suddenly had the words going through my head from a song we had sang that morning in church. It was a verse from the song “How He loves” by The David Crowder Band, and it goes: “If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.” I suddenly felt the urge to share this with the girls, and hopefully help them to better reflect on and understand what they had just witnessed. It was only a five min conversation, but after I knew that the Holy Spirit had put those words on my heart and moved me to do that. Already great things have come from that small act.
However, I felt the desire still to expound on those thoughts and so decided to blog on it today to share with you dear friends! So, what is baptism? Is it an act that saves you? Obviously not. It is a symbol, a beautiful picture that God has called us to literally act out as a witness to others. As I stood there looking out at the ocean, I was struck by the idea that THIS is what Gods grace is like (I had just written my last Post, and so my heart was already overwhelmed by Gods grace!). I think any one who stands and looks at the ocean is intimidated by its vastness. We stand on the shore, hardly more than a grain of sand compared to the depth and length and greatness of the ocean. Decades of studies and we still can not comprehend everything that the ocean holds. We can simply gaze in awe and marvel at it’s size, beauty and mysteries. Yet this is only a tiny example of what God’s grace is like! Words have not even been invented to describe the complexity of God’s unending grace! It is so much, that we are sinking in it! If we are lucky we drown in it!
“Wait a minute Marissa! Drown in it?! What kind of a twisted picture is that!? Drowning is bad!” Actually, dear reader, it is an amazing picture and if you will just calm down and bear with me I will explain! Sheesh! Learn some patience!
Many years ago I read a series of books called “The Circle Series” written by Ted Dekker (You really should check it out!). Dekker takes the story of humanity, the fall, and redemption, but puts it into a universe where things are MUCH more literal, or as Dekker puts it, “What once was unseen is now seen.” In his world, the people who follow Jacob (the equivalent of Jesus) must literally walk into a lake of blood, and DROWN to be cleansed from their literal disease (sin). It is a powerful picture that has always stuck with me, and I realized that was exactly what Baptism is. When we enter into the ocean that is Gods grace, we should be so overwhelmed and over-powered by it that we drown in it, and in doing so we DIE to our former selves. Our old, sinful being is washed away by the blood of Jesus, and we emerge from the water as a new person; a person covered in forgiveness and grace. Just as the salt and sand sticks to your skin after you leave the ocean, so Gods grace sticks with us. And does anyone else have this problem that once you leave the beach, the beach FOLLOWS you!? I leave behind and find sand in my bags, my car, my friends cars, my shower, my house, even MY BED. It saturates my entire life!!! In the same way, I see that grace which I have received saturating my whole life, and even spreading then to others. I don’t even realize sometimes when I have touched another person with the grace and love given to me by God. I am truly reborn,and now I am called to “be full of mercy and grace”, as Paul so often wrote about God in his letters. No wonder this was one of his favorite sayings! The more I think about this picture of grace, the more I see how very prominent of an idea it was in Paul’s mind. It was always an underlying theme in his writings, and a subject that he could just not seem to exhaust, nor can I!
So my friends, I hope that this was a good explanation or reminder of the meaning of the beautiful picture of Baptism, and of the incomprehensible depth of God’s grace and love! May you reflect on it as you go about your day (and hopefully learn some patience too!), and may you look for ways to show others love and grace just as God has showed you!
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Have I mentioned how much I love the beach and ocean? ❤️