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Touched

By Mike Mccauley on
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Mar 09 in Musings
Olivia was a wee bit older than some infants we baptize, having just celebrated her 21st month of life. Her family is awaiting the arrival of twins, so her life will soon change dramatically. As we stood at the front of the sanctuary, Olivia’s parents answered questions about their own faith in Jesus, and desire to raise Olivia to know the Lord. Our gathered community pledged to support this little girl and her family. We prayed, and then her dad handed her to me. 
There is always a moment of hesitation while the child weighs whether to put up with being in my arms. Olivia decided it would be okay. She listened very attentively as our congregation repeated her name twice: Olivia Dolce. She watched carefully as I dipped my hand into the baptismal font and touched the top of her head with water: I baptize you in the name of the Father. Olivia looked at me, and put both her hands on her head to feel the water. In the name of the Son. Again, Olivia touched the water on her head. In the name of the Holy Spirit. A third time, Olivia felt the dripping water with her hands. Olivia, you are a child of the covenant and have been marked as Christ’s own forever. I traced the sign of the cross on her forehead, and Olivia’s fingers touched the same place.
It was suddenly quiet, on the platform and across the sanctuary. It happens every time-
baptism is far more than a cute photo opp. Something holy, something mysterious (sacramental) was happening. A door to faith cracked open, an identity confirmed and God’s grace poured out. While our congregation experienced the words and visual signs of God’s presence in the moment, Olivia was feeling it tangibly on her fingertips.

Our community is growing. Even as we have said goodbye to long-time friends in recent memorial services, we will say hello to several more children in baptism, celebrate a few upcoming weddings, listen to Young Adults back from their mission trip, welcome the Spring class of New Members and hear from young people pondering next steps of faith in Confirmation class. 

The evidence is everywhere- we are a multi-generational church, and it is a beautiful thing. Certainly, there is work to be done in embracing this reality in a cohesive way. We have such great opportunities to step out, meet new people, ask questions and try new things which connect us in this larger family. After all, we share the same identity. Sweet Olivia reminded us- we are people touched by Christ.
 
See you soon,
          Pastor Dan

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