Written by Ashlee Eiland, content producer at Willow Creek.
One of my greatest joys as a pastor is to be able to witness the sacrament of Baptism here at Willow. To see, first-hand, a person be submerged in the waters—taking part in Christ’s death as he or she dies to self—and then being raised in His resurrection—is always a moving experience for me personally. God’s grace is available to all, and to proclaim this grace as a church is a great beacon of hope, a reminder that He’s still in the business of making all things new, despite what we may think.
Two weekends ago, we celebrated baptism and witnessed 345 people publicly declare their faith. Only God!
A couple weeks before that, I was asked by one of our regional campuses to write and deliver a spoken word piece inspired by our upcoming baptism. The words flowed more easily than usual as I recalled both Scripture and the memory of my own baptism 23 years ago.
As individuals who’ve been gifted by God, entrusted to communicate and display His character to the rest of the Body, may we never get tired of the refreshment and hope that Baptism provides:
You may feel like you’re drowning right now – but the truth is in the resurrection.
Victory, in Christ, has already been won.
By Ashlee Eiland
On the third day,
You Created water.
It was good.
Earth was bursting with the birth of life,
Living things - their beauty and bodies running freely to the beat of your heartbeat but one was missing.
He was good.
You gave him reign over the living streams, but you deemed it
was not good for him to be alone.
And so from his rib you flowed and formed a life in the form of her.
She was good.
But the voice of evil slivered in, it could not resist to ask just this: "Did God really say?"
Man and woman ate - and thus began to separate themselves away from the source – life stained with remorse.
You were good.
Stream became sea, sea was parted and he
Whom you tasked to lead led your people to hope
Peter walked to Your Son,
Life buoyed up under him
And as servants complied
Life rang aloud from their cries.
And when it came to me? With such grace you did speak:
Surrender all – your sin aside, for I AM living water, see?
You can come to me to fulfill every need, on bended knee come curse or thirst
You can be free of the sin that so easily entwines
Because I. Went. First.
I came down for the killers, the liars, the deceivers - the banged up and broken, the adulterer and unbeliever.
I commanded the waves and wind to a hush.
And in John the Baptist's hands, I felt the swift rush
Of stream and tide - all the sin and the pride - that, my child, you tried to hide.
That first death I died.
Before the cross, I was baptized.
So that you, once dead,
All the muck and the dread,
Could burst with the promise of life once again.”
And, finally, washed clean, in the cool of the stream, angels could sing - over you
Now freed - from your sin-filled disease:
In you He is well pleased.
See, the Living Water is perfect Love
Rushing over us with His blood, cleansing every inch because