A Funeral and a Wedding by Fabio Lima

It was a warm October night. The light gave the pool a greenish hue. There were 40 of us crammed in the gates, worshipping Jesus and waiting to get in the water. “Baptism is both a funeral and a wedding,” the preacher began. “Tonight you will die with Christ to your sins, and rise a new person. From here on out you will take up the name of Christ as your own.”

Seven years have passed since that moment, and I now look at it with fresh eyes. My grandmother has just passed away. Although always in our memories, she is no longer here. My family will hold a funeral and say goodbye. The reality sunk in. She is gone.

Since then I have also married the love of my life. Oh, how beautiful she looked in that white dress, bouquet in hand, perfect hair. One of my happiest moments, marked by vows, the exchange of rings, joy and, most importantly, the fact that we now share the same name. She represents me. I represent her.

And so, on that warm October evening, a part of me had to die. The selfish ambitions, the sinful choices, the self-pleasing priorities; it all had to go. We got in the pool and my friend asked me if I was ready to live a life surrendered to Jesus. As i was immersed in the water, I knew my old life was dead and gone. I had just attended my own funeral. All the shame and embarrassment were no longer there; I felt free. I felt pure.

Then I came up, and it was as if I could hear the wedding bells. The person that rose from that water was not the same that had gone in. The vows had been said. The rings exchanged. I had taken the name of Christ as my own. I now represented Him. He represented me. A wedding.

In his Roman letter, the Apostle Paul makes this incredible statement:

We were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.

Baptism is the public outward declaration of an inward transformation. It says that Jesus has given us a new life. That day in October was the day I crossed a bridge I will never go back across. I told the world Jesus is King and Lord, and the rightful ruler of my life.

That night I took His name. And what an honor it has been to be called a Christian. What about you?