I recently went on a quest looking for my baptismal certificate. Prompted by a conversation with a friend and my own ministry to the newly baptized, I wanted to see if I could recover the date on which I was baptized. I was young at the time; nine by my calculations, so calendars and schedules weren’t important yet. The day was important, but the date was not. I remember parts of the day vividly, but I did not have it circled on my calendar. I called mom and dad, they weren’t sure of the exact date either. I even emailed my former minister, the senior minister at the time of my baptism. He said he “wished he kept that good of records.” I had resigned to put my search on hold, until my trip next week, in hopes that I would find it in my old things stored in mom and dad’s attic.
Last Saturday was a gorgeous day, so I started the epic task of trying to conquer the garage and all the decorations and boxes from the Christmas season. In the midst of our cleaning, I recovered a box of my old high school mementos – mums, certificates, trophies, and other various things that I deemed important in those days. I had moved this box at least half a dozen times and through three other states, but never once did I realize all that it held. In my purging quest, I went through the box to consolidate it treasures. At the bottom, in nearly pristine condition, there it sat: my baptismal certificate. On the certificate, it contained the date, the ministers, the congregation, and even my own nine-year-old signature. I was so excited to have found it, especially when I wasn’t really looking for it. (I think that is a sermon somewhere, but one for another day).
Once I found my certificate, I started to wonder, “now that I know the date of my baptism, now what?” Do I honor that date in some way? Do I throw a party? Go to dinner? Retreat to quiet meditation? Now that I have this information, what do I do now? I had discovered information about a marker on my spiritual journey, but I didn’t know exactly what to do with it.
It reminded me of the quote from Luke 8:39, after being healed Jesus tells the man, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you”.
That phrase - “Tell how much God has done for you…” It has prompted me to think. I have had a lot of moments in my 33 years where I wish I had had the courage to do that. I have had lots of moments in my 33 years where I didn’t know how to do that.
I think my hunt for my baptismal certificate was a hunt for something more. It was a reminder that I have a story to tell. A story of how Christ has made me whole, a story of how God has loved me deeply. A story of how I have been guided by the Spirit’s prompting, and a story of how I have witnessed redemption and resurrection with my own two eyes.
What story of healing do you have to tell?
You created each one of us, with a story and as a part of your story.
Embolden us to tell the story within us.
Posted on Wed, March 2, 2016
by Micah James