A Methodist pastor in Dalton asked if he could borrow the baptismal pool at the Baptist church for a baptism by immersion. While Methodists commonly baptize by sprinkling, they also may immerse, and this Methodist pastor had a couple who had trusted Christ and wanted to go all the way under.
The Baptist pastor kindly agreed, and prepared his baptistry for the Methodists to use. He went back to check on things after they had used it, and he noticed water had splashed all over the place, in the changing area and even into the choir loft. So he asked the Methodist preacher, “What happened?”
His Methodist brother said, “Well, it was the first time I had done an immersion, and when I got in there to baptize the lady, I couldn’t figure out where to grab her to put her under. I didn’t want to touch her in an inappropriate place, so I grabbed her by the neck. She resisted, splashing water, but I got her under, and then I lost her in the water, and had to dive in to pull her up. In the process, water filled up my waders, so I had to climb out of the waders and leave them in the bottom of the baptismal pool, and I had to climb out dripping wet. I left the waders in the baptismal pool, so you can get them out when you want them. I’m not going back in there.”
This Methodist mistake in the Baptist baptistry reminds me of Paul’s profound pronouncement in Philippians: “Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14, HCSB). Sometimes, we simply need to admit that we messed up, put our problems in the past, and move on. Just don’t grab somebody by the neck in the process.
(Copyright 2013 by Bob Rogers. Email: email@example.com. Read this column each Friday in the Herald. Visit my blog at www.bobrogers.me.)