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Monday, 23 November 2009

I don't understand your love...

On Sunday 22nd we welcomed Lily Hope ....... into the church family through the sacrament of Holy Baptism. So why do I choose to impart this to Blogworld you may ask...? I'm very glad you did!

It was special! Not the service itself, certainly the all too well used phrase 'the worship did nothing for me' could justifiably be applied as it was relative chaos with musical mistakes aplenty (aka Jazz!) and the usual undercurrents that happen in churches all going on....

So why was it special? We started with the blockbuster 'Crown Him with many Crowns' (celebrating 'Christ The King') blasted out on the organ and I was delighted to see the Baptism family guests enthusiastically singing along for starters. As the service moved along we sang 'The River', with its provenance of inspiration from tragedy and forgiveness. The sermon was a familiar message (albeit with theology that makes me squirm somewhat) then the ceremony was lovely, kids running around, a 'Happy Christening Day' balloon floating aloft and the Junior Church singing.

For the last hymn we brought on a late sub, swapping a trad hymn for a song the baptism parents had sung at their wedding, 'Give me oil in my lamp'. Again, that was belted out with obvious joy and exuberance despite, in many quarters, being thought of as naff and passé.

Even though this family have only been coming to church relatively recently as part of their Baptism preparation they had laid on abundant munchies and cake, choosing to celebrate with our worshipping community in the church hall during our regular coffeetime... what a spread! It was during this that I was completely floored by a comment from the mum... 'this (as in 'coming to church') is my constant at the moment'... wow, suddenly that little phrase made everything worthwhile. And, unsurprisingly, it also made everything else a total nonsense, all the other church crap we worry and obsess about. Through our flawed efforts and imperfections this had become Holy!

I was recently reminded, when listening to a talk Frank Schaeffer gave at Greenbelt 2008, about how we attempt to rationalise the sacraments. Therefore we assume, in human terms, that it is not 'right' for a child to receive Holy Baptism until they can make up their own minds yet we acknowledge a mother whispering to her newly born 'I love you' is fine despite knowing the babe is unable to actually understand what is being said. It came home to me so powerfully to allow God to act in a 'mysterious way' we need to forsake our human rationality.

And God saw (to it) that it was good!
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2 comments:

Dave said...

"I was recently reminded, when listening to a talk Frank Schaeffer gave at Greenbelt 2008, about how we attempt to rationalise the sacraments. Therefore we assume, in human terms, that it is not 'right' for a child to receive Holy Baptism until they can make up their own minds yet we acknowledge a mother whispering to her newly born 'I love you' is fine despite knowing the babe is unable to actually understand what is being said. It came home to me so powerfully to allow God to act in a 'mysterious way' we need to forsake our human rationality."

Peter,
I was adopted at 6 weeks old and for those first six weeks my Birth Mother looked after me and loved me like no other as she knew that at the end of the six weeks she was having to give me up for adoption. All my life (51 years)I have had such a strong feeling to find my Birth Mother and after years of searching eventually found her earlier this year. The bond between us must have so strong and entwined in those first six weeks. There was many a time I could have so easily given up but there was always something there driving me on.It says in the bible that there is much rejoicing in heaven when just one becomes a believer, it was nearly Heaven on earth in February when at last My Birth Mother and I could at last show our love to each other after all that time.
Maybe by Baptising as a baby God in his own mysterious way has a hand with that baby's growing up even if for the formative years the parents do not take their child to Church or teach them about Jesus.

Dave

BanksyBoy said...

Thanks for adding such a personal and deep experience to this blog entry Dave. Uplifting, moving and clearly so special.

All the best

PB