After Asher was baptized, I handed Asher’s dad his baptism candle. I always remind parents to light this candle on the anniversary of their son/daughter’s baptism day. As I stood there looking out at the 70 souls who had braved the weather to, in part, be present for the moment, I said to dad, “You’ll have a story to tell him.”
I’m not sure how Asher’s mom and dad are going to tell this story. For my part, I’m going to remember it as the day a mom’s and dad’s desire to follow through with a baptism played a big part in inspiring me not to cancel worship. How one set of grandparents risked driving through a blizzard to get here and the other drove across the Twins Cities at the tail end of the same blizzard. And how in his delight, Asher reached down for the big blue bowl that held the blessed waters of his baptism. Fortunately, dad was there to save the bowl.
The stories we tell about our lives in no small part define us. Like Asher’s day on Sunday, many of these days are full of love and hope and the light of life. Other days leave a mark that can be bittersweet at best. We remember not only anniversaries of births and baptism, but also of tragedies and death when love is lost. And here is the thing; you can’t always choose what your soul is going to bring to the awareness of your mind and heart.
I’ll refer all of you to someone with a higher pay grade than myself to explain the psychological reasoning for this and how the healing of grief and pain is often a lifelong process. What I’d like to say from my experience is that remembering a moment, a day, a time which holds either great joy or deep sadness can be a way God’s light is shining…framing our lives in God’s acceptance, love and mercy.
So it is that all of us who are have had a few more stories to tell are asked to remember at the baptism of those like Asher who are still so innocent. We are asked to remember what makes the water and the love and acceptance which showers down upon us sacred.
I believe that what makes this water and our memory sacred is that in them we experience God’s acceptance not bound by time…God’s love extends to all the moments in which we need it: past, present and whatever time is to come. And perhaps the reason we keep remembering is the discovery there that all of life is by God’s grace, forever woven together in ways beyond our human capability to understand.
Keep the Faith,