Take Me to the River
This Saturday we will hold a seven-family baptism and dedication in our church’s side yard.
Since there will already be a large in-person presence, we invite you to join from home via Zoom. This will be our first attempt at streaming an in-person (not to mention outdoor) gathering. It won’t be the interactive, hybrid model that we plan to adopt long-term, but it’s an important steppingstone along the way. I’m grateful to Ellen, Mark Turner, and the tech team for all the work they’ve put into this event and future services.
Saturday is first and foremost about the people being baptized, and their families. The six baptisms and one dedication represent a ritual of extravagant welcome into the greater Christian community. Fittingly, we will welcome six new members to our church Sunday during our worship service!
CPCUCC may be more of a “water sprinkle” congregation than a “dunking booth” church, but I love the metaphor of emerging from water transformed. I think this Saturday might be a sort of re-birth for our congregation, too, as we look to in-person gatherings to come.
It’s tempting to want things to go back to exactly as they were before Covid, but gosh would we be missing out! Prior to 2020, I viewed new technology in worship as a cringeworthy feature of mega churches. I like our church because we value true sanctuary over flashy productions. I now understand that a hybrid worship model, where people can participate from home, is very much in line with our church’s mission to nurture love of god and love of neighbor in the world. When you know better, you do better.
I am excited for our future, but I also know there will be some bumps along the way. Technology isn’t always easy. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, but we do need to give each other grace as our small congregation wades into unchartered waters.
I think back to John the Baptist, immersing Jesus in the river Jordan. What a sight those two must have been. John, a little zany, living off locusts and honey, prophesying in the wilderness. Jesus, a compassionate young man, bearing witness to the pains of the world and choosing love as the answer. The kind of love that calls in, not out. The kind of love where there’s always room at the table for one more. I think about how those two must have known the road ahead was not going to be easy, but it was going to be worth it.
And then I think to our little church on 34th and Lowell, called to live out the gospel, even when it gets messy. Through all the isolation, tech glitches, and awkward “Holly, you’re muted” moments, we’ve made it here, and we’ve made it together.
I can think of no better way to dip our toes in the water of hybrid events than through baptism and dedication. When we do return in person, we will come back a little different, like all those who have been baptized before us. Out of the wilderness; into the water; beloved children of God. Take me to the river.
Questions to ponder:
- What does baptism mean to you?
- Does new technology in church make you uncomfortable? If so, why?
- Where do you see the Gospel being lived out in our church? In our world?
In peace and community and holy water,