Tuesday, December 14, 2010

There is a Fountain

The baptism of any child is an amazing thing. But, to watch your own child be immersed in that baptismal water is an event too much to describe. It gave me, as a brand-new parent, a feeling of total helplessness which, I think, it's supposed to do. Thank God for committed friends, godparents, and aunts & uncles to which we can turn for help. I'm so glad Isabella isn't mine. She belongs to Jesus and His church. And I, by God's grace, like Paul can boldly tell her (in word & deed) to follow me as I follow Christ.

Thus, when someone steps up and answers Jesus' call to follow him, the church washes that person in water--baptism--which says, among other things, that the person has been reborn, started over, and has been adopted into a new God-formed family. It is as if the person gets a new name, "Christian," that takes precedence over that person's family name. It is as if the person has already died to old attachments and former relationships and has already been raised to new life. And the church is that fresh, new family that is composed of those who have heard Jesus' "Follow me" and have stepped forward and said "Yes." The chief act of Christian worship isn't some mysterious, dark, esoteric rite. It's a family meal with everyone around the table, the Sunday dinner that we call the Lord's Supper, family as God intended family to be.

Thus, when parents bring a child forward for baptism, Christian initiation, the pastor takes the child from them and says, in effect, "You are two wonderful people, but you are not knowledgeable enough, not skilled enough on your own, to raise a Christian. Therefore, we'll adopt your child, we'll take responsibility for this baby, we will help you raise a Christian." Bishop William H. Willimon


  1. Hi Kaylee, What a great picture it speaks of so many things. The pictures of my babies at their baptisms are some of my favorites because first of all like you mentioned feeling the helplessness as you realize that God has given this baby to you to train up. But then seeing our pastors hold them, and knowing how deep the commitment to us and our children is in our community brings such a peace and thankfulness that we are not alone, and yes we are thankfully odd. Bless you!