God is still making beautiful things.
Recently I was invited to attend a baptism at Open House Ministries in downtown Vancouver. I very much enjoy baptisms so I happily agreed to go. I wasn’t prepared though for what I would witness that day two weeks ago. What I saw was beautiful. I saw beautiful things.
In large part, what made it so beautiful was the backdrop that it was set against. Even as I drove to Open House and saw the growing homeless population, I was reminded of the brokenness in the world in which we live. You and I know all too well how sin has ravaged humanity (including in you and me) and left the masses damaged and despondent.
I only needed one quick look at those being baptized that day to know that their lives had been remarkably ravaged. But I also only needed one more quick look to know that their lives had been remarkably redeemed. The second look of which I speak happened when we started singing. At first, I was disappointed that we were going to be using pre-recorded music to worship with. And the songs were contemporary radio songs, not worship songs. I thought that it was too bad that Toby, or Ryan, or Jose, (why is it that all our pastors are gifted musically other than me?) were not there to lead live worship. But then they sang. And then I cried.
“I was all but lost in the moment. I was young and runnin’ wide open. It was just another summer night, had to be the last thing on my mind…When love broke thru, You found me in the darkness, Wanderin’ thru the desert. I was a hopeless fool, now I’m hopelessly devoted, my chains are broken. And it all began with You, when love broke thru.” These are the lyrics that were so obviously the heart cry of the ten women and one man that were baptized that day. They were not sung as if they simply understood them in theory, rather, they sang them as if they were singing the story of their lives. And I believe they were, just as I believe they were with the lyrics that they belted out next:
“If I told you my story, you would hear hope that wouldn’t let go. And if I told you my story, you would hear love that never gave up. And if I told you my story, you would hear life, but it wasn’t mine. If I should speak then let it be of the grace that is greater than all my sin. Of when justice was served and where mercy wins. Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in. Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him. If I told you my story, you would hear victory over the enemy. And if I told you my story, you would hear freedom that was won for me. And if I told you my story, you would hear Life overcome the grave.”
After we sang to their Savior and mine, the baptism took place. When asked why she wanted to be baptized, one woman cried out “because Jesus saved my life!” It was obvious that she meant that she’d be dead both spiritually AND physically right now if not for Christ. Following the baptism, five babies and one toddler were dedicated to the Lord!
I’ve seen many beautiful things in my life, but nothing compares to a life redeemed and transformed by God. Nothing. To celebrate ELEVEN lives ransomed by Jesus and SIX children dedicated to Him was a day I won’t soon forget. I hope you won’t either.
Praising the Lord,