Monday, August 01, 2011

It is good to go to the house of the Lord...

I love the Church.  Not necessarily individual church buildings or gatherings, but the Church Universal. That's probably a good thing since I'm in seminary and heading towards a career serving the Church in some capacity.
Sometimes things happen at churches that are extra special, like baptisms.  I love baptisms.  On Sunday we had a number of baptisms at First, and they weren't all infants!  (RCA tradition says that infants are baptized. Non-infant baptism usually indicates a new believer). As usual I took some pictures that I'm going to share.  The pictures are a little blurry/grainy, but I did my best.  And to make this particular baptism Sunday even more special, people in India were involved too!
  Two new families joined our church this morning and were welcomed into membership.
These two families presented their infants for baptism.  For some reason none of the elders were real excited about teaching this particular baptismal  class.  On the left, both parents hold Ph.D's in Biblical Studies/Theology and are professors at the seminary. Below, both parents hold the title "Reverend".  Not at all intimidating!
Reuben Alagar (above) and Nathaniel Thomas (right) are welcomed into the Body of Christ through the Sacrament of Baptism.

Reuben's paternal grandparents couldn't make the journey from India to be part of their grandson's baptism, but thanks to the wonders of technology they were brought in via Skype to watch the baptism.  The entire service was being streamed so that they could feel as if they were there, even though they were in India.
After the infants were baptized, a young person (kneeling on the right) was baptized.  It always excites me so much when a young person is baptized.  I mean, all baptisms excite me, but when it is a young person or an adult, I know they have made a decision for themselves and that makes me happy.
After the baptisms were finished, a young person made her profession of faith.  She is kneeling by the fount (on the left).  Members of the congregation were invited to come lay hands on her and pray for her as the Pastor and her best friend (who invited her to church!) offered out-loud prayers for her.  I love to see the body of Christ coming together in this way.  Young and old, everyone is there committing to this young person to continue to disciple her and guide her.
After all the baptisms were finished and we had welcomed all of our new members, Reuben's grandfather prayed for us.  I have no idea what he said since he prayed in his heart language, but it was beautiful.  Later that evening I preached on the topic of the body of Christ and this was a beautiful picture: believers around the world coming together to celebrate the sacraments, even though they are separated by many, many, many, miles.
After everything was said and done, I got some good Nathaniel cuddle time in. He was very content just to sit and lounge in my arms, looking around at the people at his baptism party. He was most content when I kept moving and bouncing him a bit.  (His legs really weren't purple...It's just a weird reflection from my shirt.  Honest, I was not cutting off any circulation!)

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