Baptism in Grand Style

I am currently at UNDECA, the Adventist University of Central America in Costa Rica, to fulfill the requirement for a Spanish course I started in 2010. Seeking to understand the Spanish language and culture, I believe the Lord would have me learn more. In the process, I have met many wonderful persons, acquired a taste for some local dishes, and I am learning about different ways of doing things, etc. However, a standout thus far would be a baptismal service that I witnessed a few weeks ago. It came at the end of a Week of Prayer conducted by two pastors in the University chapel, one in the morning and the other in the evening. Since as a pastor and church administrator I am acquainted with baptismal services, what was it about the baptism that caught my attention? I share the following points that I hope may be of interest to you.
Baptism was not ad Hoc
It was clear to the worshipers, at least to me, early in the service that a baptismal service was to take place. At the point of baptism, it did not seem an intrusion but very much a part of the divine service. It was also encouraging to see the support for the three candidates as they walked toward the front of the chapel. It appeared to me that these dear ones were fully aware of the service and were ready for the occasion. Equally impressive and touching was the taking of the vows.

The two pastors, who conducted the Week of Prayer services, presented the vows. Sitting and watching, I got a chance to objectively observe what I would have done over the years, and to objectively consider similarities and possible dissimilarities. Listening to the vows allowed me to place myself in the position of a candidate and not the usual role of pastor. This is good, as one is presented with the opportunity to listen and internalize. Do we really think about what it means to live for Christ and to help others be ready for His return? Internalizing the vows forces us to consider what we are doing. For those of us as elders and pastors, it may be a good thing to take out the baptismal certificate and look over what we pledged. Hopefully, reviewing the pledge will lead to a renewal of that initial commitment.

In the Pool

In the baptistery, which could be seen by all worshipers, the pool is elevated with a transparent glass allowing the audience to see the baptism. And guess what was in the pool? -- rose petals, at least that is what they appeared to me, floated on top of the water. But also impressive was the manner in which the pastors were dressed. Yes, adorned neatly in white robes and buttoned shirts with neck ties, two pastors conducted the baptismal service. What a sight! They were smartly dressed for this service. Here is an example for us as pastors and elders. We should ensure that we are always well dressed for the occasion. Observers should be able to tell the difference between the pastor and the candidate.

The Lord's Supper

Now if that was not enough, a communion service followed. A short sermon followed the baptism, and the audience was separated for foot washing. Now that was extra special for the new believers who participated in the feet washing. I was happy to be a part of a group that washed the feet of one of newly baptized.
So what is the point? It is simple! Let us ensure that we make each baptismal service special and not something to get done or get out of the way. It should be a blessing to the candidate/s, their family, and the wider church body. It should be a service that one never forgets. Above all, it should signal a marriage to Christ. Therefore, let us begin planning because it may be for a son or daughter, relative or friend. Make it Christo-centric and Christo-friendly.