Belief, Families, Children & Marriage, Spiritual Formation

For my children on their baptism

 
Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins;
His mercy endures forever.
 
“You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever,” Father Jim announced as he made the sign of the cross on your forehead.  This sacred moment – a pause in time when Christ marks you as his own – is part of your journey.  It is certainly not the end, but merely the beginning, that I long for you to travel your whole life long.
 

Though I cannot promise you it will be a simple path, I can attest mightily to its richness and depth.  For in every failure, there is forgiveness, in every brokenness – healing, and in every sorrow – restoration. It will surely not appear in the ways you expect, nor as easily as you hope, but as you walk in Christ’s way, it will come, steadfast and sure.

And we prayed for you[i], this:

 Heavenly Father,
we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit
you have bestowed upon these your servants the forgiveness of sin,
and have raised them to the new life of grace.
 
Sustain them, 
O Lord, in your Holy Spirit.
Give them an inquiring and discerning heart,
the courage to will and to persevere,
a spirit to know and to love you,
and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works.
.

So many symbols and words that you do not yet understand.  But the simplicity of Christ’s love you see clearly – that he loves you with a greater fierceness than even your mama, and he gently waits for you to come to him for this love.  You are his forever child, cherished and beloved, and it is this love to which you respond.

How this mama loves your little souls –  full of so much wonder, joy, life.  How I both anticipate and fear watching this prayer fulfilled in your lives.  As each generation discovers anew, there will be great need for you to inquire, to discern, to be courageous, to persevere.  Much of this I hope you might learn from me, however, some of it I concede you will not.  As you know well enough already, a perfect mama I am not.

In all of your days, may the peace of the Lord be always with you.  When I am with you and when I am not. When you are full of joy and when the tears will not stop. When the path is wide-open and exhilarating and when it remains hidden and mysterious. When many friends walk by your side and when you feel desperately alone. When you sense this peace, and when all chaos seems to break loose around you.

We closed the sacred moment with a song that is repeating its way through my life.  First for our wedding, now, at your baptism:

Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
pilgrim through this barren land. 
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
hold me with thy powerful hand. 
.

When one day you grow too old to hold my hand, may this be the one to whom you continue to hold.

.

[i] See this link for the full baptism service from the Book of Common Prayer.

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