A friend, Jerry Chism, and his family once visited Kansas City, Missouri. Outside a hotel there is the Crowne Center Plaza, used for gatherings like concerts and picnics. People can walk across this area that looks like a large patio with park benches surrounding the open space. An unusual fountain occupies this open area. Flush with the concrete is a series pipes having perhaps 50 jets of water spaced at regular intervals. Streams of water at set intervals shoot upward at least 20 feet—like a geyser.
One hot, muggy August day this plaza-like area teemed with construction workers, families having picnics, tourists and workers from various shops out on break. Danny, Jerry’s five-year-old son, unexpectedly walked into the fountain as it began to shoot up. Adults watched Danny frolicking in the water and laughed at his antics. Suddenly, some bystanders joined the five-year-old in the makeshift water park. Soon, 15 adults and many children followed Danny into the jets of water. They all got soaking wet. After several minutes, the jets stopped spraying and everyone left.
When Jerry told me this amusing story, I realized this is a wonderful image for baptism. In an instant, unplanned and unpredicted, people from all walks of life united in the fun and joy of the water. They neither knew each other nor sustained any relationship after the event, yet this moment united them.
In our baptism God unites us with people across the globe and through the centuries in ways that we rarely appreciate. Those who enter the water do so regardless of rules or politics or age or financial issues or religious conflicts, or anything else. The water connected all these people and nothing separated them from each other while they were in the water. Baptism too is like this.
May we remember our baptism and thank God for it!