It was a couple of days before the Community of Christ Cromberg, California Family Camp. Lori and I flew into Sacramento earlier to spend time with our friends Ruth and Mike Seagraves and their family, before we all packed into the cars and headed off to camp together. Ruth was the director and had asked Lori and I to be guest ministry for the week. Lori and I were excited to experience a new campground and family camp, spend time with cousins who would be there, and share in ministry.
As we were sitting around talking and laughing, Mike told us that their middle daughter was going to be baptized during camp by her grandma (Mike’s mom). This just added to the anticipation and joy of the coming week. For the baptize Mike was going to play guitar and sing, but was not finding the right song. Lori asked if he knew the song “O Sun” by Peter Mayer (www.petermayer.net). Mike loved it and began writing out the music and learning to play it. Now the house was filled with Mike strumming a few chords, the scratch of his pencil on the paper, more strumming, humming
. . . by the end of the day he could play it by heart.
At Cromberg campground they have an outside baptism fount. It is up the hill from the cabins and tucked underneath towering pine trees. When the time came for the baptism service the camp made its way up the hill gathering around the fount. Warm sunlight filtered down through the still pines. Bird song and twitters gave welcome to the sacred moment. Beginning with hymns we joined our voices with the avian choir in that church of pines.
As granddaughter and grandma descended into the pool of water, Mike began to play “O Sun.” The song is about being filled by the sun, wine, and wind. The lyrics express sacramental language of asking to be filled by life, strength, and breathe. And to help us shine, to be opened-wide, and to pour forth the same life and love we receive from God through blessings of community, unity in diverse, sacredness of creation, and worth of all persons.
During the second verse of the song that asks “O wind, come fill me” a gust of wind whoosh through the pines surprising us all. At the end of the verse the wind was gone. As Mike finished the song, I looked at him and his face was just radiating with the huge bewildered smile that seemed to ask the same question I was pondering: “Did that really happen?”
When the service was over some of us practically sprinted down the hill to download the video that was taken of the baptism onto a laptop. We hit “play” in wonder and anticipation. “Did that really happen?” It did! That gift of gusting wind filled the pines, filled Mike’s and Ruth’s daughter, filled all of us with God’s Spirit in that sacramental moment.
This was a baptism experience I will not forget as God’s Spirit whooshed through the pines!