Monday, April 23, 2012

Baptizing My Boy

Yesterday was an amazing day, an occasion my wife and I had been waiting for for what felt like an eternity. 

We baptized our son. 

I use the term 'we' loosely, though.  The Holy Spirit does the baptizing.  But, as parents we did answer this question from our pastor in the affirmative:
Will you nurture this child is Christ's holy church and that by your teaching and example he may be quided to accept God's grace for himself, to profess his faith openly and to lead a Christian life? 
We formed a pretty serious covenant yesterday with God, in front of our church as witness, raise our son in the church.  Which brings me to my favorite part of the UMC baptism liturgy, where the congregation covenants with us.  It goes something like this:

Pastor:  Do you as Christ's body, the church, reaffirm both your rejection of sin and your commitment to Christ?

People:  We do.

Pastor:  Will you nurture one another in Christian faith and life and include this child now before you in your care?

People:  With God's help we will proclaim the good news and live according tot he example of Christ.  We will surround this child with a community of love and forgiveness, that he may grow in his trust of God, and be found faithful in his service to others.  We will pray for him, that he may be a true disciple who walks the way that leads to life.

So, not only have my wife, myself, and my family formed a covenant to raise my son to walk the Christian walk, but now the church body, our faith family, have joined in that covenant with us to look after our boy.

I don't know how often the people pay attention to the words we put in the bulletin, the nuance that my pastors and I weave in to get the message across on any given Sunday.  I know that some get it, and I think most people under the surface get it.  But my deepest prayer after the beautiful service we had yesterday was that the words of promise we spoke together at my son's baptism will be taken to heart by every one present. 

If the first gift that Jesus gave us is our salvation through belief, the second must be family.  Christ's body, the church, is a great big family.  And I'm glad to have my son welcomed to be part of it.