Last week our newest granddaughter Gwendolyn Elizabeth was baptized. Our good friend Deacon Gary baptized her; as he has baptized our four other grandchildren. It was beautiful celebration of God’s love for us. I was reminded (once again) that Baptism isn’t just for the baby being Christened but for the entire family gathered to experience the sacrament. We all renewed our faith and promised to help Gwen in her spiritual journey. As Gary so eloquently pointed out, Gwen really had no idea what was happening to her but our love and support would give her a foundation on which to build a life-long relationship with God. So with parents and siblings and Godparents and grandparents and great-grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends, Gwen was welcomed into a new life in Christ. And we were all blessed.
Baptism doesn’t end with the sacrament. This will be the beginning of Gwen’s life as a disciple of Christ. She was presented for Baptism but her parents and Godparents will bear the responsibility for her formation. We will all support their efforts in raising her as a Christian but ultimately she will have to choose to accept her faith as an adult.
But how often do I think about my responsibility to be a witness of Christ’s love? How often do I forget that we are all called to this in Baptism – to be Christ to one another?
As her grandfather I can model Christ’s love in the way in which I love and honor Gwen’s grandmother (my wife) and her parents and Godparents (my children) but most importantly it will be in the way that I will love her. Gwen’s journey in life is unknown at this time but my belief in Jesus’ saving grace is certain and it will sustain her forever; inasmuch as my love for her will never end.
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14