When I turned 14 my grandmother gave me this KJV bible with my name on it. I might have I said thank you, but it was one of those gifts that got buried under the teenage clutter in my room and went untouched.
When I was 16 death tore through my high school community. Mortality nagged me. Then it berated me. Then it weakened my resistance to the divine.
I spoke the stars. Then I spoke to the Maker of the Stars. Then I picked up that bible. And he spoke back.
He introduced me to his Son. I admit I didn’t get him at first. He seemed powerful, but he seemed to take a lot of garbage from people. When I read the story of his crucifixion I completely expected lightning bolts to strike the bad guys. They didn’t. He actually let them kill him and torture and mock him in the process. I didn’t get that.
I did get that he was kind. He was merciful and he promised new life.
“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” John 1:4
I wanted that, but how?
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness…
That’s what it was! I was trapped in darkness. I wanted the light.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus…
I needed to receive Jesus but I had no idea how.
I needed to get in him but I had no idea how.
Continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness…
I needed what those people had. I wanted a rooted, stable, overflowing life.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness… Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ…
Circumcised? I learned, thankfully, that was figurative for cutting away the flesh. Flesh was that part of me that was scared to die. It was the part of me that did whatever I wanted to. It was the part of me that needed surgically removed. I knew I needed that. I asked God do I do that?
He said, “How did they do it?”
Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of GOD who raised him from the dead! (From Paul’s writing to the church at Colossae)
Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into the death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, WE TOO may live a new life. (From Paul’s writing to the church in Rome.)
One even the call to the water became one I couldn’t resist. One night the preaching provoked me. He said you must choose a side. I chose Jesus.
May of 1992 got into the water. I got forgiveness. I got life. I got rescued. I got saved.
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you… 1 Pet. 3:21