Quote Me

“Only dead men (sic) can follow the God of the Cross.”  Erwin McManus

I sat in the sanctuary alone after pulling the plug on the baptismal font.   The sounds of the water going down the drain echoed through the space with a sound that mimicked my spirit at the moment.  Yes, I had just baptized two people new to the faith and I should have been rejoicing about that high moment.

But I couldn’t.

The third grader who had left a few minutes earlier with his mom had been very upset. He and his mom hung back from the crowd in order to talk with me. The instant I asked what was wrong, it hit me… I had promised this third grader that the next time we were baptizing people, he would be included. In my joy of preparing two adults for baptism, I forgot a child. Even as I listened to the mother explain this to me, my spirit sank. I felt awful.

As I sat and listened to the last of the water gurgling out of the font, I knew what had to be done. I had to go to this boy, tell him that what I did was wrong, and ask him to forgive me. It was always hard for me to apologize to adults when my memory caused hurt. More than a little of me would have to die to get through this one. Fortunately, God gave me and that family the grace to get through it.

Truthfully, his baptism was more meaningful to this pastor than any other. He may have been in the water, but this dead man was the one receiving grace…

“Only dead men (sic) can follow the God of the Cross. “

Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what to do. To move forward, I was sure the church had to take this risk but I wasn’t certain I wanted to be the one out on the limb offering the direction we should head. If we failed, everyone would know who had led them down this path. My thoughts were only on what might happen if we failed – we might lose members… I might end up leaving a community I loved… The thoughts raced through my mind as the leadership team and I sat in the room. No one seemed willing to speak.

I looked up and saw the cross on the wall and I wish I could say I was filled with courage and confidence in the direction I saw. Instead, I was filled with the sense that only one thing mattered – following the One who ended up on a cross.

With a different confidence and courage, I spoke a vision of where we could go together. The confidence and courage did not come from the certainty of my decision. It came from knowing I was already dead – nothing that could happen would change my future one bit. It had been changed forever when the God of the Cross found me.

“Only dead men (sic) can follow the God of the Cross. “

I don’t know when or where I first ran across this quote but I just can’t seem to forget it.pad2013

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