“Baptizing a baby is the most dangerous and reckless act a set of parents can do with a child. If this child is one that you want, you need to stay as far away from the baptismal font as possible.”
I have said these words a couple dozen times in the last twenty some years of being a pastor. I said them with all seriousness because I truly believe them. We think as parents that we can look out for our children, do what is best for our children, and perhaps even plan and work towards a good future for our children.
And then, in Baptism, we go and give them to God!
Sure, we promise to do all we can to bring them up in the faith. (Yet another dangerous act!) Yes, we do this partially out of cultural significance – at least in the church culture. But sometimes we don’t think completely about what we are doing. That’s why I make the statement that I do.
This hammock is “resting” in our garage for the winter. It had spent the summer in our backyard on a stand that I had to move about 37 times when I was mowing the grass. (Our house does not have a “lawn”. I don’t do lawns. I am lucky to say that most of the yard is grass, thank you, very much.) It did get used quite a bit by different members of the household, but truth be told, I probably used it more than it’s owner – my daughter.
I spent many an afternoon laying in the hammock and just thinking. I don’t sleep well in it so I rest…and when I rest, I think. And some of my thoughts were about the very strings that were holding me up off the ground and giving me the rest that I needed at the moment.
Most would not think of a hammock as something associated with the word “Go.” Stranger still might be the connection between “go,” “hammock” and “baptism.” But because some words leave a lasting sticky residue in your mouth, I have no trouble at all with the connection.
This hammock from Nicaragua returned with my now senior in high school daughter when she returned from a mission trip in December and January of 2012. I worried a lot while she was gone. I marked the passing of her sixteenth birthday without her while she was away. I prayed a lot while she was gone. She turned off her phone when she arrived in Managua because she wanted to totally immerse herself in her work and I didn’t here from her directly for over two weeks. Like I said, I prayed a lot while she was gone.
She did come home and she brought this great “‘restful” gift with her.
But the fact of the matter is that whenever I see that hammock…whenever I am attempting to rest in its web of strings, I remember that my wife and I stood before a congregation, let our District Superintendent sprinkle water on her head and let God claim her as one of God’s own. Even then I knew how dangerous an act that was but I thought I could control things better.
Alas, God said, “Go.”
And I am blessed because my daughter listened. Grayer…but blessed.