"Please wait....I am on my way....Keep some water for me."
The video played on Steve Carter's phone. It was from Emerson, a young artist dying of sarcoma, who Steve had met in a hospital room months ago. Now in hospice care, Emerson was reaching out again.
Steve had just concluded the 11:15 service during which he brought every excuse not to be baptized to light. People don't feel good enough, they are afraid of crowds, they are worried about what people will think, their past is too tarnished, it's inconvenient. Steve challenged, "I truly believe that if you have chosen to follow Jesus, there is no reason not to be baptized. I will stay here as late as I need to just so you can be baptized."
The service was well over, and only a handful of people still to be baptized when Steve checked his phone. Emerson had been watching online at Willow Creek TV when he sent Steve an Instagram message. It was short video of him in the car—weary from the journey he has traveled—on his way to Willow Creek. "Please wait...I am on my way...Keep some water for me."
Shortly after, Emerson came into the auditorium assisted by aides pushing his wheelchair and attending to the IVs providing much-needed support. He made it to the front, and Steve was there, waiting, just as he said he would be. They talked about faith and the goodness of God and the brevity of life—and then Emerson was baptized. No cheers, no lights, no cameras. The beauty of the moment could only be compared to the resound of Heaven declaring that death, indeed, does not have the final word; that grace and new life are abundantly sufficient today, tomorrow, and into eternity.