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Raising OUR Children in the Faith

31January2012

In our family we are  excitedly waiting for the newest member to arrive in May. . . (no not me!). . . a little girl whose mother is my husband’s sister.  She and her husband have waited a long time for this event and I think there were times that they wondered if it would happen.  I think grandma might have too!  But soon she will be here and every one of us is preparing for her arrival: a new quilt is being made, pillows, curtains, a bookshelf has been requested, there is the registering for shower gifts, lists are being penned, classes are being taken, doctor’s appointments are happening more frequently, new furniture  has been delivered and so on.  

It takes a lot of energy to bring into being a new life!  It takes more than two people (after the initial connection of course 🙂  ).  I know this because when my children were born, 14 and 10 years ago, I had lots of help from the same people who will be helping my sister-in-law and brother-in-law with their bundle of joy.  My niece will be spoiled for sure; with four cousins who came before her, ages 14, 14, 12 and 10, she will be doted upon, cuddled, kissed, held, sung to, danced around, read to, fed, talked silly to and more- and that’s just from her cousins!  But as she grows she will know that there are lots of people who love her and who will be there for her as she goes through all the stages of life and the experiences that life presents. And we will encourage her parents like we were encouraged and offer them a night away when they get tired and overwhelmed.  It really does take more than two people to raise a child. . . it takes a whole family.

So it is in the church. . . at a person’s baptism we promise, as a people of God, to love, nurture, pray for, educate, support and encourage each baptismal candidate on their faith journey.  Do we take this seriously enough?  It’s easy for us to say “yes” to that question when it comes along in the baptismal liturgy, but when we fail to see the covenant of baptism being lived out from our human side of things do we step in, intervene, offer a prayer or some much needed encouragement?  Would we even think to do that for the children around us in church?  Would we dare to do that for their parents who presented them for baptism?

I want to tell you that the people with whom I serve, this is a promise that we make and keep.  We don’t always do our best of course, we still are prone to not wanting to put pressure on people when they fall away from the fold. . . but we are continually getting more courageous about it.  The good news is that there has been a definite culture change in this congregation where  once upon time, so I’m told, adults were horrified to consider that children might come forward during Holy Communion to receive a blessing.  Over the years of emphasizing baptism, what it means and our responsibility to the baptized, the disciples of Trinity Lutheran Church, Monroeville, Ohio have embraced their role as mentors/friends/advocates/supporters of the young people in our midst.  Even when they don’t have any children or grandchildren in the Christmas or Easter Program they show up to support the kids.  They pack the church when the kids are leading worship.  They learn their names, they go toward them, they visit with them during breakfast on Sunday.  Sometimes they even go to their concerts and ball games just because they care.  And it makes a HUGE difference!

I have seen the biggest transformation in the lives of the saints. . . not only in the kid’s lives (who come to know that there is a whole host of people who care about them and love them) but also in the lives of the adults (who need to be needed, who have much to offer).  It takes an entire family to raise a child.  It takes an entire church to raise a child in the faith.

ACL@CCD

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