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  • May 24, 2015

    I Want More of That!”

    Last Sunday was the first time in over two decades of ministry I was able to lead, witness and experience every expression of Christian Baptism in one service. From infant Baptism ... to the Reaffirmation of the Baptismal Covenant through the reception of our Eighth Grade Confirmation Class ... to believer’s Baptism following an adult’s public Profession of Faith for the first time, Worship last Sunday presented the full and complete picture of Baptism which always occurs at the beginning of the Christian Life.

    I prepared and delivered a relatively short and simple sermon based on friendship. “Jesus knows the fundamental way significant news is shared is between friends,” I said. “Those who influence us the most are our friends and the reason this is true is because our friends are the people we trust. And that’s really what today is all about as we enact every dimension of how God claims us as our Friend.”

    What I did not expect was the crack in my voice that came when I connected the above words to the faces of the Roche family we had just welcomed into our congregation through the Baptism of their sons (Ian and Dean) and Dad (Neil), as well as the sight of the eight confirmands standing before the church who had all grown up over the last 10 years during my years as Pastor. As my wife Mary says about every Confirmation Class she and Lisa Ashworth and Paitra Modlin and Lindsay Rhyne teach: “These children are our children. We claim them as our very own just as God claims them forever as His very own.” In fact, I hope we all feel that way about every individual and family who unites with our congregation, and certainly that’s how we felt last Sunday about Neil, Courtney, Ian and Dean Roche.

    I suppose the one person last Sunday who “got it” the best as to all God was doing was three year old Ian Roche who was baptized along with his little brother Dean. Exploring the chancel area at the front of the church to the anxiety of his parents and grandparents as I “droned on and on” explaining the sacrament just prior to celebrating it, Ian shared a line I only remembered when Daria reminded me of it during staff meeting this past Tuesday. “I want more of that!” Ian said. He was speaking of the water, and he spoke these words while reaching for some more water from the font as his family was trying to return to their seats. “I want more of that!” he said.

    And that’s what last Sunday was truly all about – our wanting more of the water as a visible sign of the invisible desire of everyone to want more of God in Jesus Christ. I pray that is what lies ahead not only for the Roche family as well as our Eighth Grade Confirmation Class, but for all who associate in any way with the particular expression of the Family of God we know as Belmont’s First Presbyterian Church.

    God’s grace and peace to you!

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