Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day I was baptized.
On Sunday, Oct. 30, 1966, I was a baby. My mother Dorothy diapered me, then slid me into a long white dress sewn by my great-grandmother, Elisabeth Wilhemina Carolina Vogel, née Robisch.
(Our family has German heritage. Did you guess?)
My father, David Witte, pastored a rural Lutheran church in Clark County, central Wisconsin. Locals call the area Globe.
That’s ironic. Forty-five years ago Globe was only a bar, a post office,and a Lutheran church, surrounded by dairy farms. The post office went away decades ago.
Members of Immanuel Lutheran Church built the simple wooden building in which I was baptized in 1898. Its members were frugal.
Example: The church building had no indoor bathrooms when I was baptized, only twin outhouses. My mom didn’t use them. Halloween was a favorite time for boys to tip them over.
Inside Immanuel, though, a day before Halloween, my father, wearing a black gown, took water from a bowl inside a carved, dark-oak stand with a cross atop -- a baptismal font. He sprinkled water three times on my forehead.
While my grandparents, my mom, my 2-year-old sister, Debbie, and about 50 other Christians watched, my father said, “Daniel Allan Witte, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
What happened, then, do you think? I don’t mean the simple celebration that followed at the parsonage, and the photos taken.
What happened to me? Was the ceremony merely quaint?
The Bible says that when Jesus rose from the dead, he told his apostles, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15–16).
Does this fit children, too?
Peter said the following to crowds in Jerusalem 50 days after Jesus rose from the dead.
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
“The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off -- for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38–39).
Rev. Daniel A. Witte, pastor of Risen Savior Lutheran Church, can be reached at 747-5564. For more information, see www.rsavior.com. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday’s Herald, written by local clergy members.