Thursday, January 20, 2011

Walk in the Way that Leads to Life

This is the devotional I sent out to our devotional ministry this week.  Sorry for the late post -- no internet last night at home.

A couple of weeks ago, Jack asked us to touch the water in the baptismal font and to “remember our baptism.” We came toward the altar, dipped our hands into the water, and remembered that we are claimed by God, beautiful in his sight, and loved beyond measure.

I was seven when I was baptized, and I can remember it, but on that day two weeks ago, it wasn’t my baptism I was remembering. I watched my 17-year-old son walk down the aisle, touch the water, and I remembered his baptism. He was not quite one year old when we brought him to the altar at Johnson Memorial. Our family sat together in two front pews and brought this new human being forward to the altar rail. I listened as the choir sang the responses in the liturgy, and as the congregation promised to surround our son with love and forgiveness and to pray for him, so that he would become a disciple of Christ, and walk in the way that leads to life. On that day, and on every day before and since, God has reached down, touched our son, and claimed him as His own.

Grant is now 17. His thoughts and ours are turning to “What’s next?” He’s sitting for college entrance exams, filling out college applications and thinking about his future. What’s next?

I hear the echoes of Grant’s Church family promising to love him and pray for him. I’m grateful for how the Body of Christ has embraced him as he has grown from a toddler to a teenager. I pray that we have given him a firm foundation for whatever comes next.

In the Gospel lectionary reading for the week, James and John are working with their father, Zebedee. All three of them are in a boat, mending nets. Jesus approaches them, and he calls the two brothers into discipleship. James and John immediately leave their nets and follow Christ.

I wonder what Zebedee thought as his sons left. Had he spent a lifetime wondering “What’s next” for these two men? Did he worry about them? I’m certain that as they walked away from him, following Christ, his thoughts followed them, asking “What’s next?” for his two sons.

It’s an important question for our son, for these two young men, and it’s an important question for us. We are claimed by God – what’s next?

Do we hear the call of Christ? Are we willing to drop everything and follow him? Will we do it immediately?

How are we preparing the way for those who come after us? Are we teaching about Christ? Are we helping to build the faith of others – our sons, our daughters in the faith? Are we paving the way so that others can walk in the way that leads to life?

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