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By Mike Mccauley on
Mike Mccauley
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Jun 30 in Musings
And then the entire congregation exits the sanctuary, and gathers out on the church lawn near the rose garden. A circular galvanized horse trough has mysteriously appeared on the grass, and it is full of...water. One at a time, four youth from our community step into the water with me and either Nick or Natalie, our youth directors.
The traffic on the 101 is as loud as ever. People walking by on Yucca Street keep on walking. A helicopter races across the blue sky. In many ways, just an ordinary day in Hollywood. On the other hand, not ordinary at all. 

We had heard from each young person briefly during the worship service, talking about who they were and how they were choosing to follow Jesus. They answered important questions- Yes, I renounce evil and its power in the world. Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

This only happens one time in life. One time. One time you slip under the water. One time the waters of baptism close over you, signifying the washing away of sin. One time you are raised up out of the water, recalling the rising to new life in Christ. Death and resurrection. Gospel good news.

It’s not an ordinary day. These four young adults have their truest identity planted in them- beloved of Christ. They will grow into adulthood knowing that they are not merely the sum total of personality and family upbringing, not just a collection of talents and weaknesses. Rather, they are people loved by the God of heaven and earth.

Donovan, Nathan, Sara, Elias, are you ready to be baptized?  Yes. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The waters of baptism welcome them. The same waters part as they are raised up dripping wet, and the congregation cheers and claps and sighs and cries and shouts and hollers and embraces them. We sing Amazing Grace because...it’s amazing.

The traffic on Gower honks, under the freeway someone is setting up a tent, and a car speeds by with the stereo turned up to max volume. An ordinary day? Not in the slightest. It’s not an ending, or a culmination or a destination reached.  It is an extraordinary beginning.
 
                See you soon,
                            Pastor Dan      

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