Monday, 3 June 2013

Welcome to the family!

Yesterday at Ropes Crossing Church, I had the wonderful privilege to witness not 1 or 2 or 3, but 4 baptisms! ... In a blow-up pool! Baptism is a wonderful way to publicly declare one's faith in Jesus Christ and what he's done.

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood,
much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
- Romans 5:8-9

I was so excited that a bunch of people were stepping up for the first full immersion baptisms since our church began. I wanted to make something special to commemorate the occasion.

But what kind of cake? What kinds of things could capture the thought of a new life, a new family member, and new start? All sorts of images flooded my imagination. And then somehow, a rainbow... A rainbow, because God makes and fulfills many big promises in the Bible. The rainbow is a symbol of God's promise not to flood the whole earth again, and find a different way to deal with humanity's problems...

Admit it - you get a nice feeling when you look at the sky after it's been raining and see a rainbow... Occasionally, there's these really special moments that make people stop and stare in even more wonder and awe (and hopefully think about the God who created rainbows):

A double rainbow!

Some say that the hardest part about doing anything (e.g. writing an essay, housework) is starting. So, I started, and by the end of what my mind decided to do along the way, making up each step as time progressed, this is what I had made:

On the bottom of each tier, there's a row of silver cachous... When I did the first row (in the middle of the cake to hide where it 'joins'), I told myself "this is far too fiddly and time consuming. I am not doing this again"... Only to find myself doing it again later that night on the bottom tier, because I'm far too obsessed with having things that match. A ribbon went on top of the circle of cachous as well... Just because I felt like putting it there.

The butterflies were coloured and dried in either a ping pong ball packet, over the side of a bowl, or just flat. Strangely, the purple butterflies didn't set at all, and so were still floppy when it came time to attach them to the cake... And I have no idea why. Maybe too much dye? If anyone is an expert with fondant, let me know. Or, if you're working with fondant, be warned- occasionally it doesn't dry.

Using the ribbon around the cakes with the cachous opened up the idea of having a cross on top. I had gone a little cachou crazy when my husband reminded me that at a certain saturation point, the cake would be breaking teeth and possibly choking retirees. This left me torn; I wanted something on top, simple and elegant, forming a cross, as though the butterflies were rising to new life. A simple solution presented itself- make the cross out of ribbon! And there, atop the cake, it looked (I hope!) simple, unassuming, but elegant.

I awoke to a howling thunderstorm that threatened to blow us all over. We threw ourselves into the car to drive the incredibly distant three blocks to get to church. The rain slid sideways like a shifty pickpocket under the school's sheltered areas and drummed loudly off the metal roofs. And in this wet, cold, freezing weather, more than a hundred and fifty people gathered to watch us dunk people in an inflatable kiddie pool! To stand in the middle of the maelstrom with a cake trying to capture the promise of both the rainbow and the cross seemed strangely fitting, and the warm inner feelings of connection and celebration were almost enough to combat the frostbite I was increasingly getting in my fingers and toes.

It is such a joy to see people give their lives to Jesus, and I pray that the lives of those who do (wherever they might live, and whichever church they are a part of), will be enriched by His love and their faith strengthened every day. And that they don't catch pneumonia.

We debriefed at an Elder's meeting afterwards. First point of order: "Baptisms will definitely take place in Summer next time!"

Baptisms (and weddings, e.g.) are great moments which convict me to re-visit the promises and commitments that I've made as well: Both to God, and to my husband; and they invisibly remind me to renew my focus on the eternal, rather than the earthly...

And though I can't help but sing this whenever I read it, I wanted to add:

Therefore, go and make disciples of every nation,
baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit; and teach them to obey
everything I have commanded you,
and surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age.
- Matthew 28:19-20

How great is our God!

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