Last weekend we celebrated Max’s baptism.
I understand the reasoning behind adult baptisms. And hey, it was good enough for Jesus, and everyone in the early church, so you don’t have to convince me of its merits. But y’know what? I love, love, love the idea of baptizing babies. There’s no greater reminder, in my mind, of how we are loved and included unconditionally—both by God and by the church.
The two are equally important to me as I’ve watched my sons’ baptisms. As amazing as is to contemplate God’s extravagant love, I find the community aspect even more inspiring.
Just in case I hadn’t had all the self-sufficiency knocked out of me the first time I birthed a child, Max’s arrival reminded me all over again that I can’t do this alone. Christer and I can’t do this alone. We were counting on our family and friends to help us with the transition from 3 to 4 – keeping Toby, bringing us food, sending their love. We weren’t planning on needing extra prayers for a baby in the NICU, needing extra time from our pastors as we worried in the hospital, needing extra visits from friends while we waited for test results, needing extra support from family when we tried to care for two boys for the two weeks that one was stuck in the hospital.
I suppose that, in theory, I believe that God will support us through whatever challenges Max throws our way. But in a very concrete way I know that our church will care for Max and care for us as he grows up.
And so, we watched the pastor take him from our arms and walk with him through the crowd—a piece of the ritual that pulls on my heart with even more force than the sprinkling itself. Your family is bigger than our household, little man. I can’t tell the future—I don’t know if you will find your own friends and your own faith in this community or in another. But I have faith in the promises made for you. You will not be alone as you grow into this world.