Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, I remember saying out loud, "I love my bed." We got home yesterday afternoon after a wonderful week with Marty and family. The trip was long, there was construction that delayed us in the mountains of North Carolina, our car was loaded with the usual stuff and all the extra things from my shopping excursions while there and it had to be unloaded and brought inside the house. Whew! I was a bit more tired than I wanted to admit! But, as a furniture dealer in a neighboring town says in his TV commercials, "It's worth the drive!" We had a memorable time, to say the least.

Late yesterday afternoon we went to eat supper with Liz and the grandchildren. Tommy and Jacob, the oldest, are at a middle school church conference all week. Liz cooked vegetables from the Farmers' Market and I now feel as if summer is officially here even if it doesn't begin until Friday. Sarah looked taller and pretty as ever. Drew had a ballgame, so we didn't get to see him but a few minutes. Meredith talked non-stop in her own language, but fortunately it's okay when you don't understand her to just nod and she's content to continue. Elisa smiled when she saw us like she was glad to see us and shared the new noises she has learned since we've been away. I can't wait to get Christopher in the midst of his cousins and watch them play together!
Being a grandmother definitely falls in the category of God's abundant blessings!

Sunday I had the privilege of baptizing Christopher. I cannot tell you just how special it is to hold your grandchild, a child of the covenant, and administer that sacrament. (I have baptized Drew, Meredith, Christopher and look forward to baptizing Elisa in a few weeks.) In the days prior to the baptism I was thinking, as I always do, about why we baptize infants, the significance of it and how to share those thoughts with the congregation. Not everyone understands the whys and whats of infant baptism and being an educator at heart, I sieze the teachable moment. Let me tell you how I understand whys and whats:

1. Jesus told His followers to go into the world, make disciples and baptize;

2. Scripture tells us that baptism in the early church was for entire families, not just believers and it was tied to God's covenant promise to Abraham.

3. Ours is a covenant theology, a faith that has its roots in the sovereignty of God and God's faithful promises to His people.

4. Children of believers are a part of the covenant promise God made to Abraham: "I will be your God; you will be my people." Infant baptism is the outward sign and seal of this covenant promise.

5. Baptism is not about what the individual does or does not do. It is about God and what God does. Even in believer's baptism, it is God who has initiated the salvation. God is the one who saves, who calls. God acts. We respond because of the irresistable pull of the Holy Spirit.

6. The child's parents, extended family and church family promise to teach the child who God is and the essentials of the Christian faith so that the child can know and understand a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and make his/her own profession of faith and discipleship.

Often when I look at our grandchildren, especially the ones I've been privileged to baptize, I ponder #6 above. How am I carrying out the promise I have made? Will they remember me as a child of God? And last week, before Christopher's baptism, I centered on God's promise. #4 above is life itself! I realized that I can summarize my life within God's promise. I have trusted God's promise of salvation, I rely on God's faithfulness, I bask in the blessings of God's grace and I am sustained day by day by God's mercy and compassion. I am a child of the promise. To teach our children what that means is life's greatest responsibility and opportunity.

Pastor Margaret

1 comment:

canape said...

Thank you for spelling all of that out, Mom. I have had people ask me "why," and honestly, I didn't have good answers like these. I particularly like #5.