This past Sunday was one of those days. I don’t mean one of those days – it really was a great day at church.
In worship, we ordained five deacons. Since we began to lay hands on our new deacons as an act of blessing a few years ago, the Kellett children (and others) have had opportunities to participate in blessing them. It was deeply meaningful for them. It was deeply meaningful for me. I dare say it was deeply meaningful for the deacons as well.
In children’s church, we talked about baptism. We looked at the baptismal pool and, afterwards, the children were invited to dip their hand in the pool and place it on their head, as an act of blessing. As they placed their finger on their face, they quietly reminded themselves, “I am a beloved child of God.” I watched each child close their eyes and place the waters of baptism on their face as an act of blessing.
That afternoon, my wife, Christine, led several elementary-aged children in the Way of the Child, an opportunity to participate in different forms of contemplative prayer. As she began to explain the different stations, one child, who participated last year, said, “oooh, I like that one.” After the next explanation, he said, “oooh, I like that one too.” When Christine got to the end, to the station she knew to be his favorite, he said with much gusto – “I REALLY like that one.” My heart was warmed – this child was taking seriously this time of prayer. Not only that, but he enjoyed spending time praying and thinking and quieting himself. I need to learn from him.
That evening, four children and youth were baptized. I have been honored to walk alongside them on their faith journeys – listening, teaching, learning from them, and sometimes just walking. I had the distinct honor to be able to baptize two of them. I told the four who were baptized that I was proud of them. Not a “good job” kind of proud but a “you have not shied away from telling the church and the world that your faith and following Jesus is important to you and very publically shown the world that this is important to you through the act of baptism” kind of proud.
I remember a sermon I heard one time about Pentecost. The point of the sermon was how magnificent the coming of the Holy Spirit was and maybe, just maybe, God’s spirit comes in magnificent ways a lot more than we notice. Maybe God is coming each day to us – maybe we’re just having trouble noticing.
I’m grateful for the opportunities I had on Sunday to witness many children and youth who participated in formational moments in their lives of faith. I’m grateful, for whatever reason, that I noticed.
Thanks be to God.