Here is the text of what I read tonight at my baptism*:
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
I was here once. Here in these waters, with a pastor, and I dedicated my life to Jesus. I dedicated my life to him and then I turned my face away. Not all at once, and not … completely. But yes, I turned away and went to live in the world and do it all myself.
If you had asked me a year ago if I was a Christian, I would have told you, and this is painful to say now, but then I would say lightly, yes, on take-offs and landings. When I would sit in the aisle seat of a 747 and remember my mortality and the path I’d stayed so very far from, I would ask my father to forgive me and promise to go back to church (real soon now…). But you know just what happened then. The plane would land and my plans would go on and I would forget about him. Again.
But I tell you, that he did not forget about me. He was always there when I wanted to whisper to him. He was always there, guiding me even in my worst days, using my conscience to remind me of what was right and what was wrong. And even after I had started to believe the world, that there was no real truth, that there was no real meaning, he brought people into my life to disprove that by the way they lived and the way they loved. I found myself wanting to be with those people, wanting to find the truth, wanting to be with the good, fighting for the loveliness.
And I found myself at Celebration this last Easter morning, listening to Jesus speak to me. He offered me truth. He offered me rest. He offered me himself, again. Even after all I had grieved him, he welcomed me home.
So I am here again. In these waters, with a pastor, and I rededicate my life to Jesus. By his grace, I pray that I will keep my face turned to him.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
*I didn’t actually read the scriptures for time (my speech was a bit long as it was), but I thought I’d go ahead and include them here, as they were what I was thinking of.