This past Sunday was Father's Day, which was an amazing day in our home for many reasons.
It actually started about a week before when we were leaving the warehouse that our church gathers in every Sunday morning. Since we don't use an old traditional building, the multi-purpose function to our room works in our favor most weeks. Occasionally, though, there's a hurdle... like filling up a swimming pool for a baptism. It usually begins the week before that special celebration is scheduled so that we can turn the very cold water into warm water.
Which... um... hardly ever happens.
Needless to say, another piece of the puzzle is that my family is often one of the last to leave on a Sunday. So a week ago as my boys were taking note of all that was happening to set up the pool, my youngest son, Daniel, said something to the effect of, "Mom, Dad... I'm ready to be baptized."
Keep in mind, he's six years old. And while we did dedicate him as a baby (different than baptism), we always wanted to honor what baptism is on a biblical level... namely, it's something that each person needs to choose.
So we told him we'd talk about it that day at lunch. Mainly, I thought, because he's "too young" and "couldn't possibly understand the meaning of baptism." My plan was to find a way to delay this until later on.
Later that day, I asked him why he wanted to baptized. His answer essentially was, "Well, I love God. And I don't want to do anything that is going to stop Him from being first to me. So I want to be baptized because I know it honors Him."
Huh. That was a pretty good answer.
I then asked him about his understanding of what baptism meant. Namely, why we go under the water and come up. At first he didn't understand the question, but then he answered, "Oh, yeah. When you go under it reminds us of Jesus' death. And when you come up it reminds us that Jesus is alive." We also talked about how when we take part in baptism we claim that over our own life as well.
Huh... again... another solid response.
The more we talked, the more it became clear that he "gets it." And I mean that in the most personal way possible... he doesn't just do what I do in my faith, but truly has found a faith of his own. The way he sees things inspires me - and I am blown away by the conviction in his heart. I seriously need him to teach me more about God, because Daniel sees something Divine that many of us have forgotten.
When I asked him if he has any questions about baptism, he said, "Well, I have one... can I wear goggles in the pool?"
So on Father's Day, I was treated to some of the usual great gifts by my family. Breakfast in bed, a couple of gifts that expanded my simple wardrobe, and so on.
But the greatest gift....
it makes me tear up even writing about it...
Now, I know we can still debate that Daniel is "too young" and "couldn't possibly understand the meaning of baptism."
Then again, who among us could that not be said about? Truly, wouldn't one more year in your faith make you more "experienced?"
But is that's the point of baptism?
I'm not going to argue with you, because you can't win.
All I can tell you is that after talking with my son there came a point when I realized that I would be sinning if I kept him from expressing his understanding of his relationship with God. Undoubtedly, my wife and I have given him the ingredients... but Daniel has created something unique out of them that has allowed him to taste and see that the Lord is good.
There were several others who were baptized on Sunday, and I don't mean to share this one story at their expense. It's a rather amazing thing to watch intangible life change be tangibly celebrated in front of you.
But man... seriously... I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate Father's Day than by sharing it with my Father, who... as it turns out... just so happens to be my son's Father, too.
Maybe that's why they call it "the faith of a child."
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:14)