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JOHN DEMPSTER: Baptism trumps keys to a flat

By Contributor

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Beth being baptised.
Beth being baptised.

Across in Aberdeen, our younger daughter Beth recently had two very significant life events.

On the Sunday, she was baptised at the city’s King’s Church. The following Friday she received the keys of her new flat.

My wife Lorna and I were in the huge auditorium at the church for the baptism, with at least 1000 others. Most of the songs were new to me, but one I recognised with its chorus “This is my story, this is my song,” and its focus on Jesus the Saviour.

Some churches baptise babies, as a sign of God’s welcoming the new-born into the church family. Other denominations feel it’s right to wait until someone has made a personal decision to follow Jesus before inviting them to be baptised by immersion.

Baptism symbolises being washed clean, and given a fresh start.

Before Beth was baptised, along with five others, they each shared their stories in a short video.

They spoke of becoming aware of something lacking in their lives, of calling out to God for help, of finding themselves lovingly drawn into what they described as “a relationship with God”.

Beth, for example, was brought up in a Christian family, but in her mid-teens decided that she “didn’t want to have anything to do with” Jesus.

She sought “identity and self-worth in unfulfilling things,” though she admits “I think I always knew in my heart that something was missing and that was Jesus”.

She described how, having been invited by a friend to a church in Edinburgh, she “really sensed God’s presence, really felt that I was home”.

That night, as she puts it, “I gave my life to Jesus”. Since then her faith has been growing.

“I want to get baptised today just to show my family and my church family that I am completely and wholeheartedly living for Jesus.

“This is my story.”

We heard six individual stories of people finding themselves welcomed into the Jesus story, and recognising it as the story where we all belong.

For each of the six, ranging in age from 20s to 60s, baptism is just a beginning.

Beth spoke of a sense of homecoming. The house of Jesus is a big house: many rooms; many corridors to explore; many perspectives seen through the windows.

And each one of us, in all our differences and struggles with identity, is assured by Jesus in words similar to those of a song Beth’s friend Isabel shared at the baptism: “You are who I say you are – my sister, my brother, my friend.”

Baptism; keys to a new flat. Which, I asked Beth, was the most significant. There was no hesitation: “Baptism!”

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