When G and I walked into Jacob's Well yesterday, we were greeted by the sight of dozens of visiting extended families and extravagant white dresses that will probably never be worn by their owners again.
No, our church was not holding a group wedding... it was baby dedication/baptism day!
For someone who is in NO hurry to have children of my own, I DO like to take a gander at the occasional baby. Especially when they are all dressed up for a special occasion and even more especially when they have a miniature ribbon-bow stuck to their bald head with a dab of honey. Pretty dang cute.
After the ceremony was finished and the families had returned to their seats, the guest speaker got up and began to talk about what the words of our prayers had actually meant. (The podcast of the sermon can be downloaded here.) What I really want to share with you is the YouTube video that he showed us to illustrate his point.
It is pretty long (8 whole minutes!) so for time's sake, I would advise that you fast forward to 4:25 in order to be able to see the most important part. The video has gotten almost 30 million hits on YouTube, and has also won the YouTube Best Eyewitness Award.
It is a home video taken by someone on an African safari, and the first part is pretty gory so I will just tell you what happens up until the 4 1/2 minute point.
There is a large herd of water buffaloes (easily over a hundred) walking along a river that is separating them from the safari group. As they move along, the person with the camera shows the viewers that they are unknowingly headed towards a pack of hungry lions. A baby water buffalo gets attacked by the lions and is dragged down to the edge of the water where they are presumably going to try to begin their feast. All of a sudden, an alligator (NO JOKE) comes up out of the water, grabs the baby WB, and tries to pull it down into the river. A game of tug'o'war ensues, but the lions win and the baby WB is dragged back up on to the shore. Thank GOD the speaker explained this part to us instead of showing it, because I can barely type it without my eyes welling up with tears.
*** Note to self: No African safaris for me. I think I love animals a little TOO much.***
So, now check out the rest of the video. (Mom, in order to get the video to the right spot, drag the little circle-button across the "time line" until the time read-out underneath the bottom right corner of the video screen says 4:25. I know you can do it.)
The WB herd encircles the pack of lions (who now have the WB baby) and begin closing in on them. When I first watched this, my thoughts were exactly that of one of the women behind the camera...
"It's too late!"
The WBs get closer and closer to the lions and sure enough, they chase the predators off one by one. One of the lions even appears to get impaled by the horns of an angry WB (probably the Mama). After most of the lions have run off and abandoned their dinner, the unthinkable happens... the baby water buffalo starts to move and is actually able to stand up and quickly make its way into the center of the herd where it becomes completely surrounded by the adults. The WB's don't stop until all of the lions are chased away, and only when they are sure that they have everyone, do they resume their travels.
As the video ended, I had tears streaming down my cheeks. I immediately realized the relevance of the video to the point that our speaker had been trying to make. He likened our church to the herd of water buffaloes, who were mercilessly intent on protecting their young at any cost... even if it meant putting themselves in danger. He explained that one of the main reasons we dedicate and baptize babies at Jacob's Well, is because we want to actively show our commitment to raising, praying for, and loving each of the children that are a part of our herd.
Think about it. If it had just been the Mama and Papa water buffalo, that little tyke would have been doomed. The adults had to rally together in order to save one who would be a part of their future herd.
The message made me think about my own water buffalo family. I mean, my parents are a couple of pretty tough cookies, but who knows where I would be without the rest of the gang... I am forever thankful for those who have impacted my life by loving, teaching, and guiding me through this world. I am SO fortunate to have been blessed with family and friends who have treated me like a child of their own, and even though I live far away from almost all of them now, I continue to be encouraged to know that I could call on them for love or prayer or help at any time.
By helping my parents to fight off my "lions," you have shown me how much you love me, and you have taught me an important lesson in what it means to be a part of a herd. I write all of this as a tribute and a thank you to all of my beloved water buffaloes. You know who you are, and for everything you've done, I'll love you forever.