Here in Mérida, Holy Week, the week before Resurrection Sunday, is one of our busiest times of the year. Starting on Palm Sunday and extending throughout the week our schedule is filled with services, each remembering a special aspect of Jesus’s final week of ministry. My favorite day of this week, though, is Saturday, the day on which the biblical record is silent. That’s because Saturday is the day when Centro Cristiano Gólgota, our home church, chooses to baptize.
I like it because baptism enables us to identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Exactly following our Friday remembrance of his work on the cross, each baptism candidate is able to symbolically bury their old life in the baptismal waters and be raised again to new life as they anticipate the Resurrection morning celebration the very next day. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the rebirth that we’ve experienced because of Christ’s resurrection. Of course, the fact that it all takes place at the beach doesn’t hurt matters either.
That’s right, this Saturday morning, the church met at 8 AM and took the 30 minute drive to Progreso for the sea-side service. After assembling the baptismal candidates, singing songs, and reading passages about the significance of baptism, those participating in the ceremony waited as the ministers waded into the water to receive the candidates. Then, one by one, the candidates were led out into the ocean and baptized in turn.
This year was especially memorable as I was able to perform my first baptisms here in Mexico. I waded into the water with our Deputy Superintendent, Samuel Vazquez, and shared with him the honor of baptizing the youth and adults who will be welcomed as members of the church tomorrow. Included in this group were two of youth that attend our the Sunday school class that Kelly and I teach. The pictures included in this post are of those youth.
Following the baptisms, it’s time to celebrate! We take to the water to enjoy the beach together, and wrap things up with with a meal of fried fish complete with pickled onions, lemon, and plenty of tortillas! Forget the baptistery! Every church should baptize this way!
How about you? What’s your favorite Holy Week or Resurrection Sunday tradition? Make a comment and share it with us!