Last Sunday, just before his first birthday, Thomas was baptized.
Baptism is a practice in which the pastors of a church increase the faith of parents by asking them to stand on stage with their young children.
(Picture Tom reading this, looking up at me and saying in a stern voice, “Amanda. Do not make jokes about the sacraments.”)
On the way to church, Tom and I re-briefed the kids about what was going to happen — that we were going to sit in church together instead of taking them to their classes, that we were going to stand on stage together while the pastor baptized Thomas.
“When am I going to get bath-tized?” David asked.
Bath-tized. Does that count as an onomatopoeia?
We told the kids that they had both already been bath-tized. I mean baptized. And that Daddy and Mommy had, too. Then we asked if they remembered why Thomas was being baptized.
Not that the baptism convinces Jesus to love Thomas, but that Jesus loves Thomas because Jesus is love.
Baptism, we explained, helps us remember that Jesus is already pursuing Thomas.
“And also to help Jesus remember, right, Mommy?” Mary Virginia asked.
No, Jesus always remembers. He does not ever stop loving or pursuing for even a moment. We forget, though. We need to be reminded of God’s great promises to us.
This is the third time I’ve taken the baptism vows, and each time it has felt more meaningful. When we did it with David, I just had a little baby who had never disobeyed me or called me a name. Reliance on God looked different because dealing with sin in our house and teaching David about God looked different. It was all, at that time, mostly hypothetical.
But now I have an almost-five-year old and an almost-three-year old so when I hear the pastor say, “Do you acknowledge your child’s need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, & the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?”…do you “endeavor to set before him/her a godly example”…..will you “teach him/her the doctrines of our holy religion.”
My response is a not just YES, but YES! And only by the grace of God!
And when the members of the church stood up and took a vow to help us in our endeavor, in almost every row I saw faces of people who have cared for my children in nursery and preschool, babysat for us, brought our family meals, and prayed for and with us.
In these years, if I’ve learned anything it’s that I need God more than I ever realized, and that He’s caring for us more than we could ever imagine.
You can read the baptism vows here