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Around The Sun: Baptism

Steve Harrison is baptised in the midnight hour.

To be born again, in another world, so far away, way up in heaven. I got a home on high – Van Morrison.

I’d prayed a hundred times that Jesus would come into my life. I’d said the sinners prayer. I put my hand on a radio and repeated Billy Graham's call to repentence. But always I felt as though a piece of the puzzle was missing.

Now the missing piece stood out like a bright shining diamond.

The Bible told how Peter preached to the masses who believed they had crucified their Lord. "What shall we do to be saved?'' they asked. Peter, as recorded in Acts 2:30, told them “Repent and be baptised everyone of you for the forgiveness of your sins.'' In the next verse it is stated that 3,000 did so.

Here then was what I had to do; to be baptised in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of my sins. It was clear. Obvious.

I told James that I wished to be baptised and he said I should think about it for a while longer. I was adamant. I told him I would not sleep until he promised to baptise me. He continued to suggest that I should wait a while, but I insisted. It had to be done now. It was also recored in Acts 16 that those in jail with Paul were baptised that very night.

So James made a few phone calls. Although he had a swimming pool in his back yard the water was freezing. This was the middle of winter. A church hall was to be opened up. There would be warm water.

Off we drove into the night, James and Monika lived in Kurringah Chase national park, Their church was a 45 minute drive away. We set out in the midnight hour. We came upon a truck that had broken down. There were police cars, An ambulance. We had to detour.

“See” said James “the Devil is at work trying to prevent you from being baptized.''

Now we saw across the valley a burning building.

"Now he is raining down fireballs to prevent you being saved,'' said James.

Eventually we reached the church. A dozen people had assembled to welcome me into their family. After being introduced to them I was directed to a back room where I put on a gown. I had never witnessed an adult baptism. I did not know the procedure. James told me not to worry. I would be immersed in water. When I came up I would be a child of God.

I marched into the baptistry, entered the pool and sat on the bottom, waiting for the hand of God to reach in and pluck me out.

I felt as though I had pipped the Devil at the post, beaten him in the twelfth hour.

I came up gasping, not feeling any different. Folk were shocked. I splashed those in the front row.

James then told me that he was the one to submerge me in the water after asking if |I accepted Jesus Christ as my saviour. He would hold me under for a moment, then bring me to the surface.

We did as he said.

I had to admit that the baptism was one of the most disappointing moments of my life. There were no harps, no singing angels. I had thought I would look up and see the face of God, but boy was I disappointed.

Those poeple were so nice. They sang hymns. They prayed for me. But I did not feel the heavens shake.

But I had made a commitment to reflect on what I had done, and to study. I was keener than ever to try to understand the Bible and what God wanted of me.

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