Friday Five: The Water and the Word
In this Sunday's gospel Nicodemus asks Jesus, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Poor old Nicodemus! He was so confused about the whole "water and Spirit" business of baptism.
For today's five, tell us about your baptismal experiences.
When and where were you baptized? Do you remember it? Know any interesting tidbits?
I was baptized when I was 25 days old, at the same congregation in which my dad had been baptized and confirmed. (And later where we had his funeral and where I was ordained.) Pretty obviously, I do not remember it, but I do know stories! I didn't cry, which was amazing because I would scream whenever my mom would bathe me. I hated water. I also was supposed to wear the baptismal gown that my mom and sister had worn, but my sister (who was 5) threw a fit and decided that I needed to wear something that matched her favorite green dress. So, I wore a pale green gown.
What's the most unexpected thing you've ever witnessed at a baptism?
As a Lutheran pastor, it is my joy to preside at baptisms, usually of infants. Since I usually baptize infants, it's still somewhat unexpected when the infant clearly makes eye contact with me as I mark the oil cross on their forehead and say, "Child of God, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever." When this happens, I get goosebumps.
Does your congregation have any special traditions surrounding baptisms?
At our congregation, an older couple whose daughter died as a young woman always buys a rose for the child being baptized in memory of their daughter. Also, there is a group of ladies who make banners with the child's name and baptismal date for the child to keep.
Are you a godparent or baptismal sponsor? Have a story to tell?
I am a baptismal sponsor for my nephew. As much as I love the chance to preside at baptisms, it's also kind of fun to be on the other side.
Do you have a favorite baptismal song or hymn?
I'm not sure it's really a baptismal hymn, but John Ylvisaker's "I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry" is one of my favorites!