I am so frustrated right now. I want so badly to describe the awesomeness that was tonight, and the only tools I have at my disposal to do so are words. Letters and syllables strung together to imply meaning are simply no match for what happened at our Baptism Service tonight. They simply won’t suffice, but they are all I have.

I go to the coolest church in the world. You may think that to be a bold claim, but you won’t after you hear the reason: we had our Baptism Service in a parking garage. It was awesome before it even started. I love the fact that our plan can get rained out, and then we can just pull up in a parking garage, set up a pool and some speakers, and dunk away. The reason I love it is because it just felt so real. It felt like family. The absurdity of being in a parking lot kept it from having any kind of “show” feel to it. Authentic as can be, with glass bottle cokes and moonpies to boot.

But that is only a minor detail compared to how incredible the rest of the night was. We got to see people who have been raised from death to new life in Jesus identify with Him in the beauty baptism. Seeing friends and family gathered around the pool in support is so amazing. So is rejoicing with wet hugs, fathers baptizing their sons, husbands baptizing their wives, and getting to baptize a great friend of mine I’ve known for years. I loved the way the roar of shouts and applause shook the parking garage after every person raised out of the water. It was a party to be reckoned with.

But by far, without comparison from parking garages or glass bottle cokes or even earth-shaking celebrations–my favorite part of a Baptism is hearing people’s stories. There is just nothing as cool as listening to someone tell their story of how they came to know Jesus and how He changed their life. Our stories are what bring us together. It is in them that we realize that we are not so different after all. “You thought that too?” You can instantly connect with someone you don’t even know just because you have heard and identified with their story. Nameless faces suddenly become brothers and sisters–children of God that are being reconciled to their Father.

May we all take more time to listen to each others’ stories–and not just at Baptisms.

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