under the water…
There was a time in my life after I wandered away from Catholicism and stumbled into the non-denominational, grass roots emergent church plant during which I had a great desire to be baptized again.
Being a cradle Catholic I was baptized as an infant. I usually tell people that I was baptized as an infant and that it “took” because I’ve never known a moment in my life that didn’t feel somehow connected to God. Certainly, there are moments of doubt but even those feel infused with the Holy Spirit. As hard as it is in those moments I’m thankful for them even so.
So, needless to say it kind of surprised me when I expressed to my then pastor my desire to be baptized. I wanted to be dunked under the water and I wanted it to be by this man, a deep and loving friend and perhaps the first “leader” I’d entrusted with the care of my soul in my adult life.
I was more surprised that he said, “no.”
Even though I was able to articulate for him exactly the reasons I felt it was necessary, that I wanted to experience that joy, that I wanted to have that moment of coming up from the water, feel some change in me, feel something new, something I saw other people walking around with, he said no.
Hindsight being 20/20 I get it now but back then it was hard for me to take. Looking back on it I realize my leanings into envy. I wanted something someone else had, I wanted to FEEL something I saw emulated instead of waiting, listening, humbling myself and leaning into the struggle. I’d wager that my friend saw this on some level perhaps when he said no. He said, “you don’t need to be baptized again.” When he said that, as much as I thought that I did need it, as much as I felt some disappointment I knew he was right. I felt that deep in me, that truth, vibrating and humming in me. I know how thick that protective layer of hubris was at that time, I was still so afraid of injury and yet I was able to hear and heed my friend’s advice. I’m grateful for that.
Most recently I talked with my priest about whether or not the Orthodox church would require me to be baptized again. As with most things he waxed somewhat rabbinical on me. The Orthodox church in the states has it’s own quirks around this but for the most part as long as I was baptized in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit and as long as I could produce my baptismal certificate then there was no need to go under the water again.
Unlike 15 years ago, when I had begged for this experience I was actually relieved to hear him say it was not required. I was ready to submit myself to the process if he suggested it and in fact, my priest said that he was open to my undergoing the experience if I really wanted to be baptized again but I declined. In the sanctuary of Holy Trinity I stared at the baptismal and listened in and knew that the deep hum of the Spirit was already in me, it was the eternal yes I’d known all my life and so I declined.
What I need now is the annointing.