The Event

The Event:

Heat rays danced on the roof of the brick built facility.

The broiling sun bearing down made it feel like an oven.

For us, air conditioning was unheard of in those days.

Insufferable heat that hadn’t let up for weeks, caused the perimeter grass to wilt and fade to a straw-like colour!

It’s a wonder the tarmac surface of the parking area hadn’t turned to a melted candy-like-liquorice!

Anyhow, 1976 was the hottest summer in the United Kingdom since records began.

As well as the heat, Britain was in the middle of a severe drought.

Still, with windows open wide, doors and fire exits too, The congregation gathered to witness the special occasion.

Imagine the atmosphere – the excitement.

Such a buzz!

Everyone in the place were looking at nothing else but the event.

The baptismal. Full immersion.

An outward expression of having a changed heart and life.

One by one, each “candidate” took their turn.

For most, a change for the better – with a temporary relief from the scorching heat – as one stepped into the tepid water.

Cool! Refreshing!

Now, in the hands of pastor Bowater, who offered guidance, reassurance and support.

Time was given for a short testimony from each candidate.


And so, the familiar words were spoken, “In the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

Then, plunge! A complete soaking! Saturated from head to toe!

And then, quickly, one emerged, spluttered, followed by a short laboured intake of breath!

That was my experience anyway!

This, an outline of the burial and resurrection of Jesus.

Symbolizing the old life is gone, a new life begins to flourish.

Let’s interject a praise here!

Soon afterwards, with great suspense, the riveting crowd hung on every word, every promise.

Yes, that’s right!

A Bible reference, specially chosen for each participant, spoken aloud by another member of the leadership team.

For me, some words from Isaiah 42 – reworded today for the purpose of clarification – for this generation, found in the Message paraphrased version – current, fresh, and understandable.

God’s Message, the God who created the cosmos, stretched out the skies, laid out the earth and all that grows from it, Who breathes life into earth’s people, makes them alive with His own life: “I am God. I have called you to live right and well.

I have taken responsibility for you, kept you safe.

I have set you among my people to bind them to me, and provided you as a lighthouse to the nations.

To make a start at bringing people into the open, into light: opening blind eyes, releasing prisoners from dungeons, emptying the dark prisons.

I am God. That’s my name.”1.


In retrospect, I’m lost for words!

Well, almost!

And why not?!

God is so good!

He cannot be equalled or matched.

There is none like Him!

Thus, He deserves our applause!

Our praise!

For this reason, let’s make God’s glory resound; echo His praises from coast to coast.2.

Let’s proclaim the good news that He saves.

Let’s publish His glorious deeds among the nations, and tell everyone about the amazing things He does.3.

God, You’re so awesome!

Thank You for saving me. What can I say? You are my everything. I will sing Your praise.4.

Amen? Amen!

1 Isaiah 42:5-8

2 Isaiah 42:10

3 Psalm 96:2-4

4 Martin Smith.

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