Thursday, December 28, 2006


One of the lectionary readings for this week is 1 Samuel 2:18-20. I never really noticed verse 19 before:

Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice.
Each year, Hannah would bring Samuel a new robe. She had given her child to God, but she never gave her child away. She still cared for him in the way that she was able.

Have you paid attention during an infant baptism? We had one this past Sunday, and once again I was struck by what our congregation promises to God:

With God's help we will proclaim the good news and live according to the example of Christ. We will surround this child with a community of love and forgiveness, that he may grow in his service to others. We will pray for him, that he may be a true disciple who walks in the way that leads to life.
Heavy words. Big promises. We say them, sometimes in the same way that we repeat the Lord's Prayer, in the same way that we pray the call to worship or the collect, in the same way that we declare our faith using the Apostles' Creed. By rote. Without thought. We just "say it."

Do we mean it?

If we mean what we say, if we truly mean it when we make the promise to help this child so that he will "walk in the way that leads to life," then we have actions to take. These are empty words unless we follow them up with footsteps toward the goal of nurturing this child in our faith.

It is one of the reasons that we are a church. We are not only meant to witness the baptism; we are to be witnesses to the one who has been baptized.


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