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The big questions: Can I get baptised again?

This year Journey explores questions from the pews, namely from a (fictitious) person exploring faith and the Uniting Church.

This month our (fictitious) church goer, Nova B. Lever, asks: Can I get baptised again?

MY 12-YEAR-OLD and I feel we’ve connected with God and his people since we’ve been coming to church and we do like those shiny Uniting Church name tags.

So I went to the minister to ask her about baptism.

I was baptised as a child in another denomination and it didn’t mean much to anyone.

My son has never been baptised.

I really didn’t want to ‘get him done’ just for the sake of ceremony.

Our minister made me a cup of tea.

This wasn’t going to take five minutes.

Although I know parishes and other churches where it’s been done, she ruled out an adult baptism for me.

In my situation the appropriate response is a time of learning and the ceremony of confirmation.

I had done some reading and I couldn’t find the word confirmation in the Bible.

The minister said I’d missed the point.

There are plenty of things we do in church today that the first Christians would never have imagined.

She pointed me to Acts chapter eight, when Peter and John laid hands on the Samaritan believers and prayed for them, because “they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit”.

The church had special services to publicly “make firm” or “establish” someone’s faith from around the 5th century.

Still, I felt let down about my baptism.

If it’s a sacrament – a promise – somebody didn’t keep it: my parents, my godparents, that congregation.

They didn’t bring me up to know about Jesus and I’ve spent a lot of years wandering, ignoring God and ignorant of faith.

I guess I let myself down there too.

Time for another cuppa.

Rev Lipton showed me some of the Uniting Church orders of service and asked me to think about who else made promises that day, and kept them.

“In the Uniting Church people are baptised as a way of saying God loves them, and that they are part of the family of God.”

I began to wonder about God’s promise made and kept, “once for all”, in Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Was it luck that brought me to this congregation one Sunday morning a few months back?

The Uniting Church believes baptism is something very special that only needs to happen once in a person’s life.

The tea was cold by the time I realised it was time for me to stop looking back and start looking forward.

Baptism should have been a beginning, not an end.

It’s time to make some commitments of my own to Jesus and his people.