Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Since We Were Babies

The picture above was taken just over a decade ago.  It's still one of my favorites.  In part because it very much captures the personalities of the kids in the picture, even to this day.  And also because I love being reminded of a very unique thing about bringing children into church community: these children are not related to each other, they aren't  close - although they are friends - but they have been know and loved and cared for by this family of faith since the days they crawled around on the floor.  Like cousins or siblings in a for-real family they have this experience of church community - their family of faith - that only they and their peers share.

In the high school youth Sunday school class exploring baptism and belonging we are heading in a couple weeks into a session on the story of The Church and specifically of Our Church.  We will talk about the stories and values and culture that we have in our congregation.  We'll talk about  what it means to follow Jesus as a community in this time and place, and what it has meant for the last 50 years. Many of these same young people were at camp this past weekend.  I saw them being community to each other, laughing and enjoying being each other around a card table, and I saw them being embraced into the community of our church of all ages as they - yes - played games and also cared for smaller children and made meals together and played ping-pong and skied and sledded.

Some of those teens also crawled around with each other on the floor and some have only been here a little while.  But being in this family of faith is unique thing that only they share in the world.  I pray that the little ones in the picture will in a few years be the teens competing at Rook, that the children who have recently joined our community, and babies yet to be born will be folded into this cloud of witnesses.  It is precious to me to observe that that even long after the children of this faith family are grown, the love that they have known here continues to be a connection to each other and to the love of God.

In a recent conversation with my child in the picture, she confirmed that I still had it on my bulletin board.  I nodded and she went on a little incredulous, "So we've know each other since we were babies?"  Yup.  They have been known to each other and known to their church and known and loved by their Creator.  Thanks be to God!

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