UPDATE — Added some new pics (below) that a professional photographer took of all the baptisms. One quite simply melts my heart.
What a wonderful day yesterday!
It was long and exhausting, but it culminated in extreme joy and pride.
A normal Sunday begins at 5:30 for me, since I have to be at the church at 7:00. I led the early service on piano, then immediately began soundcheck for our late service, which Darah led while I played guitar. She’s done a fantastic job this summer. (See my post tomorrow for a rundown of the services.)
After worship, we ate lunch at one of my least favorite places, Taco Bell. Then I kept the girls to help me load up sound equipment to take to the church picnic. We did, then rested in my office for a bit before heading out to an area campground.
After the girls swam for a while, we made our way to where we’d be setting up for Zion Mountain Boys—that’s the bluegrass group I play in at church. While everyone else started getting food, we began playing. We got about four songs in before rain showers forced us to quit. We quickly tore down everything and secured it inside. Because the rain was scattering the people (and many were leaving), we thought we should move to the pool for the baptisms.
Jacque had expressed a few weeks ago that she wanted to be baptized. Several years ago I baptized Lindsay in our pool, but Jacque didn’t quite understand back then what the point was. So we talked about it recently, and we agreed that I would baptize her at the picnic.
At my church, they baptize differently than any church I’ve been a part of. First, they dunk forward instead of backward. And they do so three different times, for “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” There are vows to be affirmed. Also, they pray for the individual after the dunking, instead of before, which is slightly anti-climactic for me. See, when they come out of the water, I want to hoot and holler in praise. So in deference to the witnesses, I tried to incorporate some of what I saw Pastor Dan doing with the three before us.
But I got all mixed up because of overwhelming emotion. I managed to dunk Jacque without drowning her, which was really the worst-case scenario, and I prayed for my baby, that she would always sense the constant presence and relentless love of God, especially when Cindy and I are not a daily part of her life.
That moment was what being a father is all about. My hope has always been that our kids would recognize God as their father because aspects of his character are reflected in mine, despite my infinite failings. I pray they would learn to trust him more each day, just as they trust my love and direction.
O God, what a terrible responsibility to be a dad, yet also an incomparable satisfaction. In moments like yesterday’s in the pool, I realize a little more how you feel about me.