As we bid a turbulent and crazy 2018 adieu, Rebuild Fellowship celebrated its first baptism. Two men and three women, spanning three generations, declared their faith in Jesus Christ publicly on December 30, 2018.

What a way to end one year and start another.

So, imagine a transportable tub (like a hot-tub on wheels) filled with water, situated in a school auditorium in such a way that everyone could gather around. “Everyone” included close to 250 people crammed in on all sides. Some squatted low in front, others stood tall on chairs, everyone pressed close in anticipation—bright and beautiful—all together celebrating new life.

Cheering, shouting, laughing, clapping, tears flowing…we participated in baptism that morning.

I was reminded that when a new child of God publicly professes faith in Jesus, something profound and mysterious happens. In those holy moments when God’s love and forgiveness is proclaimed and received, the Spirit is unleashed. As the healing oil of the gospel spills out, individuals and full-on networks are transformed by new life made possible only by God through a new birth and resurrection made tangible in baptism. So simple. So holy.

In some small way we all experienced new life that morning—I know I did…so much so, it has taken me awhile to put it into words. I have so wanted to capture—and to share—the reality of passing from death to life, dark to light, old to new without trivializing the resurrecting work of God in our midst.

Jesus, who has been raising the dead to life all along, said, “I am the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live. And everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die…Do you believe this?”