Yesterday I had the real privilege of taking a baptism at St Mark’s Church. Sarah and Jo led all age worship amazingly, as they always do, in a way that engaged people in a way that set them at ease but also challenged them to consider God’s word afresh, or maybe even for the first time.
The churches I work alongside do around 40-50 baptisms a year, which in itself is pretty exciting. One of the churches I am connected to has two baptism services per month due to the local demand. In a world that is supposedly becoming increasingly secular this in itself tells me that God is present and engaging with people in this area in a pretty fundamental way …. by making people aware of their need for God in their lives.
Yesterday’s baptism was special and will stay with me for a while due to the story that goes with it. The person I baptised went on a school trip to a cathedral. In the cathedral, on a normal school trip, just wandering around the building, chatting to friends and listening to teachers, during a week day, with no talk, or exposition, or funny crowd pulling story … something special happened to this person.
The day after the school trip the person was found kneeling by the sofa with hands together. When asked by one of the family what was going on this reply came: ‘I’m praying because yesterday at the cathedral, I met Jesus, and now I want to be baptised.’
God just did that by …. errr being GOD!
Sometimes I get frustrated with people who seem to believe that we need to have a certain formula, or do things in a certain way, or have a certain tone of song, before God will act and do anything. Sometimes I have found people, myself included, to be so sure of how God will behave to such an extent that if those certain things do not happen, they then draw conclusions that God was not there!
How incredibly bizarre is that way of thinking!
There is nowhere in God’s creation that God is not present. A basic principle of orthodox Christianity is the omnipresence of God.
Essentially, this puts us in the position of dictating to God the way that God should do something. Actually I wonder if that puts us on the border of actually attempting to be God ourselves.
I wonder a lot of the time if what actually happens in the world is that God simply carries on doing what God does … and we can be so boxed up in our thinking that we miss what God is already doing. It’s not God’s fault that people don’t see what God is doing!
Sometimes… just the space, just the realisation that God will be God, and just allowing God to be God is simply all that is needed.