A Bundle of Potential

That Sabbath morning, it seemed pretty clear that feeding and teething were 3-month-old John’s priorities.

But that Sabbath morning, like many others, our worshipping congregation took a vow to affirm God’s baptismal covenant:

… to guide and nurture this child by word and deed, with love and prayer, encouraging him to know and follow Christ and to be a faithful member of his church…

That Sabbath morning, gathered in God’s house with God’s people, our church family recited the ancient creed, prayed, sang, and grinned as our infant brother John squirmed, fussed, and cried a bit… and a bit more.

???????????????????????????????(John the baptized and his parents, both Presbyterian pastors.)

As I handed John the recently baptized back to his mom, I was mindful of John the Baptist, a child long ago born to great promise and godly purpose. Upon that John’s birth, his family and neighbors gathered round and asked, “What, then, will this child become?”

This is a crucial question for every child of God, for all of us throughout our lives. What will we become? How will God work in our lives and through the lives of others to shape us? How will we discover and claim our true identity and purpose in life?

This upcoming Sabbath, our 8th grade Confirmation Class will stand before our church family and profess their faith in Jesus Christ. They will “confirm” their baptism and claim their identity as his disciples.

confirm

(2013 Confirmation Class)

As we hear in I John 3:2: …we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed…when Jesus is revealed, we will be like him… In the Body of Christ, we believe this question — What shall we become? — is best answered through communion with God and in communion with one another through Jesus Christ.

.By the grace of God and with the love and nurture of God’s people, 3-month-old John will someday stand where our 8th graders and all Christian servants and disciples stand. With God’s help and the encouragement of those around us, we all stand together as God’s believing, loving, serving people.

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Family For Days…

John and Annie: Brother and Sister in Christ

John and Annie: Brother and Sister in Christ

My family isn’t perfect, but we are a family.  Ours is full of old passed down stories and new hope, connections and reconnections that remind us that we are not just individuals: we are pieces of a greater unit.  Being part of a family means that I can never really be alone- for better or worse.  It also means that someone will answer when I call and be there for me when I need it- any time, any place. Our son, John, will be baptized on Sunday.  It is a big day- maybe the biggest in his life. As such, Chris’ and my families will be joining us for worship.  It is an important day in the life of our family.  It is the day when we will see our son, the newest member of our family, named for two of his great grandparents, wear a nearly 100-year-old family gown… and be initiated into a new family.

A BIG new family.

John will receive the promise of God’s grace: new life in Jesus Christ.  He will be assured forgiveness for his sins; he will be called to a life of Christian worship and service.  It is all staggering to think of, but the thing that always hits me the hardest about baptism is that he will be claimed as a member of God’s own family.  Actually, that’s why most people, when they baptize someone, only use their Christian name.  Last names aren’t very important on the day you are adopted into another family.

People will stand- some of whom I have never even met- and, representing the faithful everywhere, they will pledge to help raise my baby boy in the knowledge and love of God.  They will promise to love and support him when it is easy and when it is hard, when he is cute and when he is not- blood be damned.  They promise to be his family.

John is unique, but he isn’t that unique.  On the day we were baptized, people stood up for all of us and made the same promises.  Each time someone is baptized, it gives us the opportunity to remember: we have pledged to be a family.  Our family isn’t perfect, but we are a family.  And this family, like my own, is full of old passed down stories and new hope, connections and reconnections that remind us ALL that we are not just individuals: we are pieces of a greater unit.  Being part of a family means that we can never really be alone- for better or worse.  It also means that someone will answer when we call and be there for us when we need it- any time, any place.

Thanks be to God!