Rory the Baptiser

Wilsons_2013 Posted by Rory Wilson on Sun, 18 May 2008 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

How did you spend your Sunday afternoon this week I wonder?

Well for me, I was up to my middle in a small man-made lake assisting at a baptism.

Like many things I seem to end up doing, assisting in a baptism is somewhat stretching the ‘any other reasonable tasks’ part of my job description as a Medical Superintendent….but what a great way to spend an afternoon.

I was along at a local church as some young friends were due to be baptised. After the church service we walked down to the water, and the pastor bade me join him to assist. A dozen young, and not so young folk were publicly demonstrating their commitment to follow Jesus. It was wonderful to be able to pray with them for the infilling of God’s Holy Spirit. The setting was somewhat less sterile than most baptismal pools to be found in churches practicing adult baptism in the UK – the tadpoles and water snails gave it a more Biblical feel as if John the Baptist may join us at any point. The congregation gathered on the bank and sang throughout to the accompaniment of Drums. After the service we feasted on roast bull and finished the day with some traditional dance.

There were several customary speeches. The theme of many was the surprise that I would be present at such an occasion as a friend of the family. Many noted that often-times Ugandans only develop friendship with white people for personal gain – often financial, and that my relationship with this family, and theirs with me seemed to be primarily about relationship instead.

They had struck a deep truth of one of the biggest challenges in partnership in mission.

Many speak of partnership between the Church in different parts of the world. The mantra is a good one.

The reality however can be very difficult.

Just because often it is difficult, sometimes does not reach our expectations, and sometimes even appears to be a complete failure, doesn’t necessarily detract from the goal of trying to make it work as best as we can.

Sometimes it does work well. That’s God’s Kingdom – messy because its made up of ordinary people, but when we are following Him, at times it can be full of great things.

This family frequently encourage me in what I am doing. They pray for me and have taught me much about hospitality, cultural workings, family extemporary praise and prayer…. they have given me a deep insight into how ordinary people here subsist from day to day trusting in God. Things many in the UK and Ireland need urgently to relearn.

Standing in the afternoon sunshine, watching people publicly enjoy freedom from the guilt of their sins and set out to live a new life is a good thing.

Dealing with people’s physical ailments takes up much of my time, but we are whole people, so it was great to be part of spiritual healing for these good people, some of whom were obviously having to overcome significant fear of the water to go through with it. (Few people here can swim .)

It probably will be next year before we have another similar baptism – but do make it along if you can!

Cheers meantime

Rory

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