Celebrating God’s Kindness in Baptism

Celebrating God’s Kindness in Baptism

I hope—and suspect—that you are still basking in the wonder of your Christmas experience. The “eagerest” of beavers among you might already be putting away some of your Christmas decorations. But the Toone family barely got their tree up in time for the holiday! Let me explain.

For the first time in years, the four of us decorated our tree together. We waited until Rachel arrived and then bought and decorated a tree on the December 21—the latest ever! As I sat back and watched my two kids hanging ornaments that represent years of travel memories (we buy an ornament wherever we go), it was a poignant trip down memory lane. Rachel, now an ordained minister in our denomination; Cooper, towering over the tree, launched on his business career. But there they were, giggling over shared memories about our Scottish flag ornament, our Spiderman ornament, our moose ornament from Michigan (the one that started this tradition), and all the rest. (I have to admit, I couldn’t help but estimate how much money was hanging from that tree…sad, but true!)

As I reflected back over our journey together as a family, I was also reminded of my kids’ baptisms. Rachel in her little Scottish dress on St. Andrews Sunday, 1992. Cooper, our Christmas baby, baptized in the gymnasium in early 1996. The promises we made to raise them in the Lord. The promises you made to help us raise them in the Lord. And the promises God made that these children of ours were part of his covenant family.

Now, seeing them grown and launched—still loving each other, still loving their parents, still loving the Lord, still loving his Church—I was filled with gratitude at the Lord’s kindness.

This weekend is baptism weekend. Most of us will renew our baptismal vows with, I hope, deep gratitude for God’s kindness. And many—a large number, as it turns out—will be baptized. We will even have a horse trough for those who think more water is better! As with my family, this will be the beginning of a journey with a faithful God and a faithful church. Speaking from this side of 26-plus years, even with all the struggles, that journey is so worth it!

If you want to be baptized, come! If you have been baptized, come! We will start our New Year with a joyous celebration of our faithful God’s kindness. And don’t forget, all three weekend services will be in the Sanctuary.

Happy New Year, my beloved Chapel Hill family. It’s going to be a great one!

Pastor Mark

P.S. Another life-changing way to kick of 2019 would be to attend Alpha starting next Wednesday. Please…come!