The Words of the Kuzig Family

Israel Pilgrimage September 2004 - The Jordan River Baptism

Thea Kuenzig
October 2004

Israel was a great experience for me. For weeks I had been advertising it to everyone: "Two weeks in the sun, nice hotel, all your friends, service projects and party time.

Thatís what it turned out to be. I just want to share one very strong memory, but need to go back in time a bit moreÖ

The bigger picture

Starting from my first witnessing experience I struggled with the Christians, I found it difficult to see any hope for them and when I made efforts the representatives I spoke to withdrew, not being able to see anything in common. While witnessing in London I changed my attitude because of a lesson I learned from a very respectable elder sister. One dinner we invited June Darby, one of the first British members to share her testimony and while sitting at the table one of our guests called me on a mobile phone. He asked me whether I was a Christian and I answered: "kind of". After that June told me that I should never again not consider myself a Christian. Because if everyone in our church had always been a real Christian in heart, which is nothing else than loving others, a lot of the resentment that made people leave, could have been avoided. And that clicked.

Later I thought about one of the issues that was most opposite of my thinking: the fact that Christians always say "everyone is a sinner, born as a sinner and only Jesus Christ can save you". But by then I could feel the liberating, healing meaning for myself. If you are not honest to yourself, you can never grow, but if you see and accept who you really are you can progress from there. A lot of second generation struggle with this issue, worrying that they should be better, have a higher standard than they do.

Back to Israel

One day we went out sight-seeing to the River of Jordan. The whole time was more of a pilgrimage really. There was the opportunity to get baptized and amongst many others I wanted to go as well. Others were wondering "from the viewpoint of our theology it is not necessary, so it has no value; itís just a tourist thing".

I donít know why other people did it, maybe to use it to witness, especially Christians that doubt your authority on deeply theological issues. I did it because I wanted to be there where John the Baptist understood and saw the vision of the dove and heard Godís voice "This is my beloved son, who I am pleased with" and where everything went right for Jesus too. His birth, his life and his death were miserable and not the way God wanted it to be like, but the moment that John the Baptist fulfilled his mission and supported Jesus everything was the way it was supposed to be. Internally I wanted to be there and experience what they did.

I felt so pure walking around in this long white gown that you had to rent. I got a receipt for my baptism! The whole thing was as commercialized as could be and there were no official baptisms scheduled, no priest, no times, you had to do it yourself - but I didnít mind. When we walked into the water in a long row singing Holy Songs, the Priest whom we asked, a Peace Ambassador from Denmark, baptized me in the name of "Jesus Christ". I felt the love, that even I was accepted into the all embracing love of Jesus.

The prayer that the priest said upon all of us, bowing our heads in the water was even more precious to me. I donít remember the content, but I felt up-lifted.

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