These references in Romans to love, to humble, faithful service, and to peaceful actions even toward our enemies indicate that the Christian calling is certainly a high one. Yet in the mystery of grace, this life of graciousness is the one that God has called us to live. Jesus reminds us that what is impossible for us is possible with God.
I have found that this is a good way to keep before the family and the child the meaning of baptism and to remind the parents of the promise they made to God during the baptism to do all they can to raise their child in the faith.
“I hope you’ll always remember that God loves you so much—more than I can even say—and has a wonderful plan for your life. We at the Church are here to help you discover the special life that God made you to live.”
Every year until the child participates in confirmation, in the days leading up to the child’s baptismal anniversary I send a letter marking the occasion. I also include an age-appropriate gift, like a children’s book. I have found that this is a good way to keep before the family and the child the meaning of baptism and to remind the parents of the promise they made to God during the baptism to do all they can to raise their child in the faith.
Another factor in baptism pertains to ongoing spiritual instruction and development after the actual baptism. While not limited to infant baptisms—since post-baptismal nurture is important for any person regardless of that person’s age at the time of baptism—this factor has particular significance in the case of infants who are baptized.
The idea of the future has a mysterious quality to it because it is always beyond us, in one sense not yet fulfilled. As you look ahead, what do you anticipate about the future? What concerns or fears do you have? Do you think that in the midst of the inevitable uncertainty regarding various aspects of our future, there is still reason to be hopeful about what lies ahead for you, for your family, or for others? Why or why not?
It has been said that the dinner table—that place where we eat, talk, and share life together with others—is an extension of the Eucharist. For you and your family, what has been the significance of feasting at family gatherings? How does the act of eating together promote fellowship and community? How is that also true for us all in the Lord’s Supper?
“How is memory significant for us as God’s people? Why is it important for us to remember, and what specifically should we remember most?”
“There I was, the new pastor of a church that had a strong, proud heritage but more recently had experienced several decades of slow decline while nobly carrying on, a congregation like so many others these days. I was trying to envision through hope-filled eyes the potential for renewal and growth in that setting, but as I stepped into the prayer chapel that day almost all I could see was a bunch of clutter in a space that was supposed to be devoted to prayer.”
“We experience the presence of Christ in many ways, but none more special, more intimate, more truly satisfying than in what is variously called Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, or simply the Eucharist. Whatever name we use for it, this is a meal of God’s grace that Christ has prepared for us. For it is here, as we respond in faith to his invitation, that he feeds our souls with the bread of life that endures forever. It is here, as we believe in him, that our spiritual thirst is quenched. It is here, as we partake of the bread and cup of the Lord’s Supper, that we can say: the bread that we break is a sharing in the body of Christ, and the cup over which we give thanks is a sharing in the blood of Christ. It is here, in this holy meal, where God satisfies the deepest hunger and thirst of the human heart.”