Yesterday morning Elizabeth and I worshiped with our nephew’s congregation in Maryland, and witnessed the sacrament of baptism from this side of the rail. Following the service, when the cousins gathered around little Thomas, I snapped a picture. It is a little fuzzy (I think the camera operator’s hand was a little shaky…or tears got on the lens).
But the image speaks volumes to me:
There’s the obvious family support…cousins gathered around Thomas; little Finn making sure Catherine won’t drop the precious cargo.
In the foreground there is a handshake spanning a few generations and a little banner given the new parents that says “Thank you God for Thomas”.
In the background (in front of the rail) is a fuzzy little smile from Thomas’ uncle (and Godfather) Anders, that says “I’ll be there for you…today is a good start, Thomas”.
And in the extreme background is the banner announcing You Are Mine. It’s in the liturgy – the pastor said it twice in his sermon!
But the whole picture of truth I saw yesterday, as the family gathered to welcome this little one with joy, undergirds God’s prior claim on this little life. We are here to nurture and gently guide Thomas’ pathway to Christ, but God is clearly in focus over it all.
It is a good thing that Thomas’ parents “get it” that God is ultimately drawing their growing family to Him. That was clear from Daddy’s speech to the rest of the family as we reassembled back at the house for dinner. Lars thanked all of us for being there and making this day special. He shared that when he and Catherine married they took John 8:32 as a guiding verse for their marriage. Then he reminded us that he and his generation were standing on the shoulders of the previous generation, and in that picture of dependent, family strength, their greatest responsibility and privilege was to lead little Thomas to Jesus. This was the truth that would set him free.
In the seven hours it took to drive back home I ruminated on that little speech. And it made my heart glad and full that the “next generation” is in such capable hands. For those are hands that understand the necessity of Christ in the home, in the workplace, in the trials and successes, the everyday and all-day of life. These are the hands fully surrendered to the leadership of Christ in their home.
Thomas, the little guy (whose grandfather is also named Thomas), staring at me from the pew in front, didn’t have much of a clue about all the goings-on yesterday.
But, in time, he will.
Oh yes…Thomas; you WILL! Your parents, your family, your church community will remind you; they’ll see to it that you know it well.
But most of all, it is God, quietly standing there in the extreme background who will remind you. In many ways He will say to you, Thomas, You Are Mine; and that truth, little one, will set you free.
For You, Today…
Is that kind of freedom in your life?
It can be. Just ask.