Monday, August 18, 2008

It takes all kinds!

I have quite a congregation this coming Sunday. I'm not quite sure where to start with my sermon thinking. First of all, there's a baptism which I love. The baby being baptized is a 2 1/2 week old (or will be by then) whose family is moving halfway across the country the next day. Her parents are not members of the church. Her mom has been very active here for about 18 months, but by the time I was installed and she knew she wanted to join, she also found out that they were moving, so she didn't bother to join officially. I can understand that. Her husband is what I call an "evangelical" atheist. An atheist and proud of it, and one who really wants others to be atheists, too. I know he tolerates his wife's faith, but is less than thrilled by it, and certainly doesn't like the kids coming to church. The new baby is child #3.

So, we've got the faithful non-member mom, maybe some of her Lutheran-based family, the atheist dad (who tried to refuse to come to the service), the atheist's atheist family, friends and others from their circles and families who are also using this to say goodbye to the family as they move.

So that's on one hand. On the other we have the VERY (Christian) evangelical, believers' baptism-based worship band from the ecumenical youth ministry in town. My guess is that many of these youth have never seen an infant baptism.

Oi! What a mix!

I feel like I've got a lot of "splaining" to do to all these various parties and to my congregation itself! Not sure how to do this, but my initial thoughts are sort of like this - - -

I'm starting with the Exodus string of readings for the next several weeks/months. If I remember correctly my plan has me sticking with it through the 10 commandments on the first Sunday in October. So this week is the birth of Moses and his "rescue" by the Egyptian princess. By my count it took at least 6 people to get Moses on the right track for the start of his life and his ministry (2 named midwives - maybe a stretch, but the idea is there; his mom; his sister; the princess; the princesses maid). That's a lot of named or noted people in one Bible baby's story! Anyway, my basic thought is that it takes a lot of people from a lot of varied places to get Moses started on the life God is preparing for him.

The same is true for babies we baptize. It takes a whole community (Do I sound like Hillary Clinton? I'm going to try to avoid that.) to carry each one of our children forward in their God-blessed lives - a diverse community of people of faith, different faith, maybe no faith. It doesn't matter. God uses diverse means to get the job done!

Eh - - a late night thought last night. I think I might run with it.


Makarios said...

As a (retired) Marriage Counsellor, I feel sad that this person lives with a man who thinks her views / beliefs are stupid and if she were any other person he would demean and dismiss her most cherished beliefs as though they were rubbish. She deserves better.

She Rev said...

I think your assumptions might be a little harsh. I don't think it is fair to assume that he thinks her view/beliefs are stupid or that he would demean or dismiss her or anyone else for different beliefs. He may not share her beliefs and he may be one to try to persuade or invite others to think in his way (sort of like Christians often try to do share what we believe), but that doesn't mean that he is mean-spirited, rude, or dehumanizing.

I have met him and he is a good person. He cares very deeply for his wife and his children. He just doesn't share her beliefs and although he goes along with his kids being raised by his wife in the church, that is not something he supports or really likes, and that's his choice whether anyone else likes it or not.