“I plunge neath the waters, they roll over me” – William Booth
This post has been 18 years in the writing. I’ve been following Jesus (on most days) all of that time. Many of the years in the fellowship of Salvationists and the last 3 in particular in other parts of the body of Christ. As a ‘good Salvationist’ I adhered and taught all of The Salvation Army doctrines and principles, as my officers covenant required of me and I was very content in that until my last few years in the Army.
I’ve said before, I’m grateful for my Army years and for the ‘container’ that Salvationist discipleship gave me. One thing I’ve found, personally, is that the container was not going to serve me well in the ‘second half’ of life. Not saying thats not the case for others. There are more things I wanted to explore and discover, experience and work out which would have required me to be unfaithful to the covenant and agreement I had with the Army.
For many years I was a strong advocate of the Army line on baptism and communion and was happy in that position. I fully understand the theology and was content with my non-practice of those things. I posses the grace/blessing/internal meaning and intention of those symbols to this day and by no way feel deprived or spiritually lacking.
However, things change. I still don’t feel deprived or lacking, but my experience and understanding of these ancient practices have changed, having been involved in ‘administering’ both in these past 3 years. I’ve experienced them afresh, quite simply because I hadn’t experienced them before, and so I’ve come to them with a ‘beginners mind.’ Seeking to be fully intentional about my participation in them, especially when leading others in worship in that way. It deserves that attention.
As I write, I am aware that I sound like I am making a case as if there is a prosecution about to cross question me…I guess thats how entrenched my Salvationist views on this were. I still don’t see any harm in Salvationist doctrine on this matter, but as for myself, I’m in a new place.
But alas, I don’t really need to defend the heartfelt decision I made on my Rites of Passage retreat in the summer. Having spend such a valuable and precious time exploring the Paschal Mystery, the death, suffering and resurrection of Jesus; having spent time in the wilderness considering some hard truths; having encountered God in a new way, the immediate call that came to me is that I should be baptised. Its important to me that I make this statement publically.
Its not that I feel that I am incomplete. Its not that I feel I’m missing a blessing. However, I do feel that I want to take the journey of identifying with Jesus, the rest of the church and with the whole Paschal Mystery in taking my own journey. Having marked a clear line in the sand in the summer, this for me is the consolidation of that experience and to take that ancient rite thoughtfully, meaningfull and with full intention.
I’ve invited one of my brothers from the Rites of Passage, an elder in the true sense of the word and a Church of Scotland minister, if he would do me the honour of baptising me and he has agreed with great joy!
So, in Sept/Oct sometime, we will travel back to Scotland as a family. Back to the hillside where I spend my Day of Initiation by the River Almond in Perthshire and I’ll be baptised there. I will let you know the date and location should anyone wish to join with us there, but until there, I’d appreciate your continue prayers.
peace and good,