Earlier this summer, my wife and I had the pleasure of baptizing our daughter in the ocean with family gathered. Our daughter, Olivia, had made the decision that she wanted to be baptized but the only initial request she had was that she didn’t want to do it in the church we were attending at the time. We decided on the ocean.
When we shared this exciting event in our daughter’s life, there were some who reacted with questions regarding whether it was “real” due to the lack of a steeple, seminary graduate, pews, etc. Here is what is interesting; Jesus was baptized by his cousin John in the wilderness among friends. From there, we have added the expectation of what would need to be said, the music, the lights and the credentials of the dunker.
We take the core Truth of Jesus and put stuff on top of it. We pile rules, guilt, requirements, and trappings around the invitation of Relationship and Love to create religion. Our religion then serves as a lens for what things have to look like for them to be “real.” Real and True get buried under religion and performance.
The announcement of Jesus that the Kingdom is at hand is simple. Heaven is here so recognize it, operate within it and allow Heaven to be your lens. Not the man-made requirements of religion but the Peace and Power of Heaven.
On that day in June, the environment was Heavenly. A father baptized his daughter and afterwards announced to all who could hear “this is my daughter, in whom I am well pleased.”