The sign outside my door reads, “Stay calm, and remember your baptism.” This past week, I learned more about what that actually means. I was on my way to the hospital’s NICU. The only child of a family was put on hospice care. The child, Baby A, was twenty-four days old.
I had never been to that NICU and was lost. As I tried to find my way, the driver behind me honked, and revved his engine; he was more than frustrated with my stops and starts. Meanwhile, I was muttering about how that driver couldn’t even take a moment to offer courtesy or grace to a fellow-driver. When I finally made it to the check-in window outside the NICU, the receptionist was having a conversation on the phone and with other colleagues about this and that, while I stood there waiting. I confess to you, that my heart held none of the grace or courtesy I had wished for myself.
Finally I was looking into the eyes of Baby A’s parents as they searched for answers and wept with grief. I rubbed the fuzzy head of Baby A, as we prayed. Then they asked to baptize their sweet son. From a plastic hospital dish, I dipped the consecrated water onto Baby A’s head, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As the water dripped down his head, you could feel the room change. Grace was in the room. It didn’t just feel like Baby A was dripping with it, but that it was being poured out on us adults again.
We stood there clinging to the God who offers this grace. We remembered that grace is poured out to save us. We don’t earn it, but it is a gift offered to any and all as they (or their parents) receive Christ. It is a grace which is so large that it stretches from this life into the next. And we place our trust in that grace to carry us.
We are a people of grace. I reflected upon the number of times that day I had treated grace like it was mine to dish out to some and to withhold from others. We humans often do withhold treating others patiently, kindly and supportively when their actions aren’t what we need or want them to be. But grace isn’t’ mine, and it isn’t yours. It is God’s and it is poured out on any and all. We are simply to honor that gift by the way we share it with others.
This week we are thankful for God’s arms of grace in which Baby A now rests in heaven. Let us practice living as people of grace. Let us practice being patient, kind and forgiving when things don’t go our way and when people don’t act as we think they should. In other words, “Stay calm, and remember your baptism.”
Community Life: What’s Happening at Old Bethel
Through the Hearts & Stories small gatherings I have met with about seventy folks and heard some beautiful stories of faith and calling. These conversations will help provide narrative data which can help shape our next steps together.
There has been a great deal of goal setting going on! Because in ministry we work for Jesus, we all are taking part in accountable leadership. Pastor Matthew and the Family Ministry team has been goal setting. I have turned in my quarterly goals to the SPRC. Pastor Saul reports weekly on goal progress in Hispanic Ministry as set by the Congregational Development grant. Next week, I will get to read the goals different Old Bethel committees have set in years past and have been working on. When we meet goals, we celebrate and praise God! When we don’t meet goals, we then make decisions which will allow us to move forward in the ministry of Jesus Christ.
This Sunday, join us as we formally commission and celebrate Pastor Matthew. He was formally appointed to Old Bethel in September and we want to formally celebrate his faithful ministry! 12:30 in Fellowship Hall: Come celebrate Pastor Matthew!
Sign-up to help serve at Summer Fare (Community Fish Fry and Fun) by contacting Mike or Janet Tucker at 467-4669 or 894-3672 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Serving Christ Together,