Today, I also want to tell you some great news that is happening in and around our church. We are being inundated with request for baptisms! It all started a couple of weeks ago when a couple of couples visited our congregation on the same Sunday and began talking to me about their children being baptized. This alerted me to call the Caspers who also have new baby. So with three baptisms in mind we somehow were all able to agree on a date of March 22nd. Then last Sunday with all three of those kids in mind, another couple attended with their new baby and talked with me. And then after church… some grandparents talked to me about their grandkids. If all these baptisms happen that will make 6. We baptized 1 child in all of last year.
So this morning I was at my usual Thursday morning breakfast at the Original Pancake House a.k.a.“Baconland.” We have been getting use to a newer server for some time since our regular for a couple of years Renee, was off having a baby. This was the baby that I was hoping would be born in time to be the baby Jesus at Christmas. We missed out by a week. So today Renee was back at work for the first time and before she clocks in for work she comes and sits down by us and shows us this picture. His name is Evan James and we think he looks great in a tux.
With all these baptisms on my mind, and knowing that Renee enjoys a good laugh (and that she can choose to take me seriously or not) I said, “He’s looks so good I’ll give you a Free Baptism.” We both laughed but then she began to consider what it would mean to bring Evan James for a baptism she said something like, “Let me think about that.”
It was one of those moments when in the back of your head you say, “Why did I say that?” which was followed by, “I don’t know… but I’m glad I did.” I’m glad I did, because as I said to the grandparents who talked to me on Sunday, “Baptism is many things, but most importantly Baptism is about the child.”
I know and appreciate the thought that says, both parents and our congregation make vows to help raise this child in the faith. But how can those vows be fulfilled if the child isn’t in church? I don’t disagree with that. But in a world that is increasingly less right and wrong for me I choose to focus on another thing. The most important thing baptism is about in my heart and mind is that it is a moment when a human being and God communicate through an ancient, almost primal ritual. And in that moment God speaks and we hear not with ears but in the water soaking up God’s never ending love and acceptance with every fiber of our being both inside and out.
And here is another thing. There are already so many obstacles to new parents today; so many expectations and a whole new level of accountability. Why would we, at EPUMC a reconciling congregation, want to make something like a sign of acceptance excessively difficult to experience? It does not, nor will it ever make sense to me. And if letting Renee know that it would be a privilege to baptize Evan James even if the only time I ever see him again is in a picture while I’m wolfing down my bacon at OPH then I’m willing to live with that and let God take care of the rest.
Keep the Faith!