Apparently one of our best ideas!
Every second week of January I meet with the pastors of the largest churches in our denomination. One of our “sessions” is the sharing of best ideas; one new, creative thing we do that might be worth “stealing” by others!
A few years back, I shared how we do renewal of baptismal vows on the first weekend of every New Year. I described how, following a sermon that speaks to the cleansing work of Jesus, we invite all who have been baptized to come forward and receive the sign of the cross in water upon their forehead The pastor pronounces the words, “Remember your baptism and be thankful.” And the recipient replies, “I am thankful!”
This isn’t “re-baptism.” We don’t do that. But it is a way of recalling God’s faithfulness to us down through the years, a journey that had its start when we were baptized. For the many among us who were baptized as babies, this is a chance for us to re-experience what was done to us when our parents claimed us as covenant kids and members of God’s family.
This is a favorite weekend of the year. I love the privilege of inviting you to a New Year resolution of remembrance and gratitude. By the time we are done, my right sleeve will be soaked, gravity being what it is and water running downhill. Yet another sweet reminder of the privilege of serving as your shepherd.
Here’s another great reason not to miss this weekend. We will have folks who give their lives to Christ for the first time and receive the sacrament of baptism. In fact, we will be ready for new believers to come forward who don’t even realize what God is going to stir in them this weekend…but are about to become members of God’s family! (This would be a perfect weekend to bring your unchurched or unbelieving friend!)
To top it off, Berta Brynestad will show up in the wee morning hours of Sunday to build a spectacular piece of balloon art for the sanctuary services that will remind us of God’s faithfulness in this last year. It’s really something to behold.
So, my Sweetheart Church, 2018 awaits. How about one resolution that we DO keep: let’s go to church….faithfully…every week…and see how God uses his community to shape us into the people he wants to be.
Eager to be with you and to resume our journey through Romans!
Happy New Year.