Life in the Shadow of Holy Baptism

GodReflection: Life in the Holy Presence

garyguarujaI grew up around baptismal waters.

Preachers were always happy to regale us with humorous stories that took place—or supposedly took place—around and within the waters of baptism.

One of my favorites was of the preacher and a wintry baptism in an icy creek. baptism8He told the incident for the truth.

As the new born Christian came up from the frozen water he let out an expressive “damn” before he could catch his breath in reaction to his ice water immersion. Quickly, the preacher took him under the water a second time hopeful for better results.

From family members of my paternal grandmother, patriarchs and matriarchs had faithfully entered the water for multiple generations as they submitted to the “arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins.”

My maternal grandparents were baptized during their teenage years. On more than one occasion I recall my granddad recount the story of how he was baptized by “Ole Brother Mickey.”

baptism3After all these decades there is still something optimistically exciting to see the facial joy of soaking wet people as they emerge from their watery tomb. They are alive. They are risen. Eternal life is begun.

In Holy Baptism is encompassed the act of humble submission to God and the acceptance of His grace to restore my past to a cleansed state. The watery entombment demonstrates to all a change of allegiance.

I submitted my self-sufficiency to Jesus as it was buried under the waters of baptism. (Sure, dependence upon myself sneaks back upon me at times but its dominance is buried.)

From that grave I arose to inhale eternal oxygen to live life powered by Jesus and Spirit. From that point forward I began to live in the shadow of Holy Baptism.

The salvation I encountered is by God’s grace and Jesus death-resurrection—period.

baptism7To argue if I was saved at the exact second when I placed my faith in Jesus OR by my baptism is to take a minimalist point of view.

I can’t help but think of Jim Collin’s chapter “Tyranny of the OR” in the landmark book Built To Last. Often it is not one OR the other, rather it is Both And.

Yes, I access God’s grace by faith in Jesus AND yes, I access God’s grace in baptismal waters AND yes, my baptism is a visual witness and memorial for others and myself to testify of my resolve to walk with Jesus toward eternity.

To live life in the shadow of Holy Baptism is to live with a visual image of a point in time that encompassed all actions of the Holy and all aspects that birthed my own faith trek. I envision all of this in my watery resurrection.

I like the concept of life in the shadow of Holy Baptism as a monument that allows me to recall the point in time of my baptism.

Baptism aAt my Holy Baptism Father, Son, Spirit, Angels, family and friends, joined with me to establish a spiritual monument that is always before me and before others.

The stone casts a warm and welcome shadow that covers my earth walk through every joy and every trial.

By the way—on the Holy landscape there is always room for anyone to construct a monument through a decision to live life in the shadow of Holy Baptism.

The Holy monument maker has a way of serving all who request His services.

Would you share with the rest of us how your Holy Baptism casts its shadow upon your walk?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on Life in the Shadow of Holy Baptism



2 thoughts on “Life in the Shadow of Holy Baptism

  1. Gary, You really expressed some sublime, wondrous thoughts here.  I am deeply moved, struggling to put it mildly, with the elevated way you painted this picture of our new relationship with our Father.  Jim Wilburn immersed me the night of December 8th, 1958, after he and I were teaching a young mother and her daughter how to accept God’s love and grace.  It dawned on me like a West Texas coldfront that I had not really understood adequately till that night how Jesus’ blood was in actuality to “divine currency” that God accepted in payment for my sins.  I had to be baptized that night no matter what.  Nothing would cause me to wait another moment.  Phyllis was there, along with an elder from the church, Mord Tucker.  Great memories till now. Grace and Peace, Lynn


    • Lynn,
      Great story. I loved your comment “I had to be baptized that night no matter what. Nothing would cause me to wait another moment.” I wonder of we who live in what we sometimes refer to as more developed countries have lost some of the urgency?


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