A couple months ago, we were standing around a baptismal font. The parents had just professed their faith and promised to raise young Grant in the faith. I took the bright-eyed boy in my arms for baptism. He turned and promptly stuck his finger up my nose. We all laughed then watched his surprise as the baptismal water trickled down his head. His face turned to concentration as I walked him down the center aisle to introduce him to his church family. He concentrated on our faces and listened to our voices as I commended to their love and care young Grant, who by baptism is recognized as a member of the family of God. I asked if they would endeavor so to live that he may grow in the knowledge and love of God. Their voices echoed off the ceilings as they responded,
“With God’s help, we will so order our lives after the example of Christ, that Grant, surrounded by steadfast love, may be established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal.”
With that response, the church promised to take part in the ongoing work of God’s prevenient grace. This is the grace God offers to us before we even know or sense God. It is the grace that chases after us with open arms. In baptism, we the church, PROMISE God to be a visible sign of His grace to the child so that one day s/he will be inspired to confess Jesus as Lord, Savior, Companion and Friend. With each baptism we make this promise. Each time we are reminded that this promise is ongoing and outreaching; we promise for this child and beyond.
This is why I love VBS Sunday, Youth Sunday and the like. As we gather around children and youth in worship, we are fulfilling part of our baptismal call. Young people see us and hear us standing with them; we stand before them as a living sign of God’s grace for those who are baptized, and even more to those young people who aren’t. Whether or not we have family (by blood) involved, all are indeed our children. We don’t always come to these worship services for ourselves. We come to praise God for the gift of saving grace. We come to be shaped in the faith by honoring our promise. We come as stewards of God’s grace, offering it to the hearts of children and youth. I love VBS Sunday, and I look forward to joining with you in worship and celebration this Sunday at 10:30. There is a meal to follow; come and fellowship!
Community Life: What’s Happening at Old Bethel
Pastor Matthew orchestrated four interviews with candidates for the Family Ministries Administrative Assistant position. The committee included pastors, SPRC committee members, and parents. We unanimously selected a candidate and that person is being offered the position today. We hope for an acceptance! More to come.
VBS had more than sixty children worshipping, learning Bible stories, playing games, and doing crafts. A legion of adults have been leading, serving and loving. Wow is God at work! Thanks to you all; you participate in this ministry with your financial giving, your prayers, and your service!
Pastor Saul and his family, as well as I and my family, THANK YOU for the radical hospitality at our reception last Sunday. We thank you for commissioning us into service through prayer. I assure you we are off and running!
Hearts & Stories are times when I will join different gatherings on different dates to listen. We will chat about how God is at work in your lives and in the life of this church. This time of listening, will help us prepare and plan for the next steps in answering God’s call. Please sign-up on the connection card this Sunday or email firstname.lastname@example.org the church to sign up.