Anyone else think this is weird?
Yesterday we were baptizing two adults by immersion in a pretty good sized tank in the front of our gathered worship. The preschoolers came in to experience it.
"In His dying we have died. In His resurrection we are raised to new life." First Carrie, then Sarah went under the water and then came back up. People applauded.
One little preschooler in the front took it all in, looked around, then asked "does anyone else think this is weird?"
We take perfectly dry people, get them all wet, then clap. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Think about it. We gather together to eat the flesh and drink the blood of our God.
We refer to each other as "brother" and "sister". Even when we're married to each other. "Brothers" and "sisters" marrying each other.
We sing songs to a God who was murdered.
Our "sacred book" is full of murderers, cheaters, schemers, genocide, infanticide, ritual circumsision, food laws, human trafficking, unfaithfulness and some very strange dreams. It's really difficult to understand and the hero ends up murdered...as a criminal.
Instead of working hard to earn the greatest reward, we talk about weak losers coming in first. We have to be born twice. We can live forever.
We ask for a Ghost to enter our bodies!
From the outside, it would seem we are a bunch of cannibalistic, incestuous wierdos, into paranormal activities, who sing songs to a criminal who was dead (then who wasn't dead).
Let's face it, almost everything that really matters to a follower of Jesus is weird.
All of this shows pretty powerfully who does the saving. If it were up to me, I wouldn't believe.
Yet, I believe. Nearly 130 believers yesterday gathered in Wyoming Junior High School and together we celebrated four baptisms.
It's no wonder we pray "I believe; help my unbelief!" for Jesus to create in us hearts that believe more firmly--because it takes a faith that transcends what our eyes see (2 Corinthians 5:7). And yet billions believe.
We believe only thanks to God who, in His sovereignty, decided (before the foundation of time) to save us. Why us? That's up to Him (John 5:21).
Apart from Jesus pointing at us, warts, sins and all, and saying "Him, he is mine. Her, she is mine."---we would not believe any of this weirdness (Ephesians 2:8-9). Pretty humbling, isn't it?
It's by glorious grace that God saves us through faith. And faith comes from outside us, not within us. It's an act of the Holy Spirit of God (John 1:13). As Martin Luther said, "faith is God’s work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God."
This new heart that is oriented toward Jesus comes from God. It's why we clap when we welcome new believers into our family. We celebrate what God has done.
It's why we long for those who think our traditions are weird would one day (very soon) participate in those very, weird traditions in response to saving faith.
Sunday was a very wierd day for the Elevation family. Can't wait for more of that kind of weird.