Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Holy Land Tour, Part Four: Renewal of Vows

Yesterday we saw many great sites and switched hotels. We were late getting in and then the hotel was having Internet problems so I couldn't post an entry. In a few minutes there will be a sale on personalized Holy Land jewelry here at the hotel. I'm not interested, but today is Terri's and my wedding anniversary, so I figure I'd better go with her. So for now I'll tell you briefly about an event in which it was my great honor to participate two days ago.

Two members of our group are also members of Woodhaven Baptist Church--Bob and Pat Barker. While here in Israel, they asked me to officiate over a renewal of their vows. No, not their wedding vows; their baptismal vows.

Many pilgrims to the Holy Land find it meaningful to be baptized in the Jordan River--the river where Jesus was also baptized. Fifteen members of our group decided to take this step, including Bob and Pat. I was honored that they asked me to to baptize them.

On the night before the trip to Yardenit, the site of the baptism, Dr. Cameron Jorgenson did a great job of explaining the theology behind this pilgrim step of faith. He was careful to point out that these baptisms should not be seen as re-baptisms. Rather Dr. Jorgenson suggested viewing this as a renewal of one's baptismal vows somewhat like a renewal of wedding vows.

The five ministers carrying out the baptisms in our group did not use the traditional "I baptize you ..." formula. Instead, we called on our fellow pilgrims to remember their baptism.

Below are a couple of photos from Bob's and Pat's renewal of their baptismal vows in the Jordan River this past Sunday. I hope it was meaningful to them. It certainly was for me.

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