The words echoed through the large sanctuary, every eye glued to the line of young people in the front. “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, crucified, risen and coming again?”
One by one, the responses came.
A voice in the congregation whispered, “Sounds like a marriage ceremony.”
As the baptisms continued I was struck with that very thought. It did sound like a marriage ceremony. In a sense, it was one. The marriage or covenant between each young person and Jesus Christ. In acknowledging him as Savior and Lord they were identifying themselves with the bride of Christ. The church.
In my mind I journeyed back to my own baptism, over fourteen years prior. I had been thirteen and had just emerged from a remarkable encounter with my parent’s God. He had become my very own Father. The King and Lord of my life. I was fully and completely willing to be identified as His.
So, my parents took me shopping and we bought a white dress. My mother braided my blond hair into a crown on my head. Then, in a swimming pool in Englewood, Florida, I was tipped back, and in an act of symbolism, died and was buried then raised again. A new person. A bride.
We had a party that would rival any wedding reception here on earth.
One by one the young people in front of me gave their testimonies and were led through the same steps. This celebration was different than mine. More solemn. More traditional. Yet, it was still the same. The joining of hearts and lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
And in my heart I could hear Jesus say, “Look, my love, look at them all. My bride is ravishing. So beautiful it makes me ache with longing.” Then His voice rose, “I’m coming, my loved ones, I am coming soon!”
A bride prepared
Her Lover calling
And from the Throne
I can hear Him say:
My dwelling place, will be with you
For I am yours and you are mine
And every tear you cry
I will wipe away
No more death, mourning, crying or pain
For these have passed
And I, my Love
Am making things New.
(From Revelation 21:2-5)