Saturday, July 31, 2010

Filled With the Spirit of New Life

(Austin, TX) - Our infant nephew has found his running legs and was using them to his advantage most of the morning. That is, until he was corralled by his mommy’s loving arms and brought into the embrace of baptism on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Seriously, he was running laps in the church, even while our old friend The Priest spent some time with the family reinforcing the meaning of baptism. In a moving prologue to the sacrament itself, Father reminded us that it is scientifically proven that there is a finite amount of water on Earth and that it has never changed. It is water that unites us with one another as well as with history. Water flows, evaporates, freezes, precipitates, but always recycles. With water, we are cleansed.

Hey, it got my attention, but not the nephew’s.
Up the aisle, down the aisle, through the pews he scampered with his older sister giving constant chase. It impacted the reverence of the proceedings ever so slightly. That’s okay; it was his day. While the deeper meaning was clearly not on his one-year-old mind, he somehow realized he was the center of attention.
When it came time for the business of baptism, there was an amazing transformation. The boy became quite still and quiet. There was an appropriate solemnity to the moment.

The not-so-churched in the crowd expressed amazement at the turn of events. I invoked the Holy Spirit. Bottom line, there is a new Christian among us and that’s something to celebrate. We all vowed to do everything in our power to support this young man as he grows in Christ.

Foremost among those making the promise was my son, his cousin, who had bestowed upon him the honor of being the boy’s Godfather. Even though he has fallen away from the Church, my son seemed to take the responsibility seriously. I wasn’t listening carefully, but I’m pretty sure he fully participated in the baptism, giving all the appropriate responses proscribed by the prayer book.
I know his mama was proud to have him in church again, even if it was a one-shot special occasion on a Saturday. Maybe it was a baby step toward some kind of spiritual reconciliation. As we found out first-hand, baby steps in a church can evolve into running in the blink of an eye.

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