When I stood on the second row at Jamie’s church last Sunday and watched her baby girl’s baptism, I was a little teary, mostly because Jamie is one of the dearest friends of all my life. She was my maid of honor and I never imagined I would live close enough to her to watch her baby grow, to be part of her kids’ lives, for our little boys to love each other as much as they do. Being able to be present for Eliza’s baptism was grace to my heart.
And then we blessed that sweet baby with these words.
Eliza, we give thanks that God has claimed you
with an everlasting love that will never, ever let you go;
and we will never let you forget that!
We rejoice to welcome you as our sister
in the family of Christ.
Our story is now your story:
you have ridden in the ark with Noah;
you have passed through the sea with Moses;
Christ’s death and resurrection for you is at work in you,
transforming you into the image of God.
Grow with us in grace,
confess Christ crucified,
proclaim his resurrection,
and share with us in his royal priesthood.
There is something so deep and rich and moving about all of us being part of the story of Christ. And there is an honor so mysterious and breathtaking that we would ever have the right, the privilege, to welcome another dear soul into that fabric in which our lives are already woven and patched and restored.
Really, the greatest joys of my life have been in telling the story and welcoming others into the story. That’s why I loved ministry to high school kids. I loved telling them that there was room for them here in the story of Christ, there was forgiveness and acceptance and grace for them just as they were.
And now, how often to do I forget when I’m snapping at my boy for waking up his brother, when I’m frustrated about whatever super important thing I forgot back at the house, or when the ecosystem of my home feels entirely out of whack, that I have been privileged to tell the story and invite my children into it? It feels so easy to forget that this is their one childhood, that what happens today is shaping who they become, how they relate to the world, how they understand love.
My story, our story is now theirs. I’m asked to offer it to them as we live our lives together, as we walk along the road, as we lie down and as we rise. God has already claimed them with an everlasting love. My job is to make sure those two boys never forget.
My job is to invite them to grow with me in grace. And, boy, do they see my need for grace sometimes. So, my prayer is that in my home I would live as the welcomer, the one who always, in love and deep grace, offers my boys a place at Christ’s table. And in doing so, may I never forget that Christ offers me a place as well…