If that is the night, then Sunday, April 24, was the day. All day I kept saying (and praying): “This is the day.” On Sunday, Faith Lutheran Church was filled with God’s promise for us and the ways we honor and believe that promise.
In the morning, nine 2nd graders received a Bible from our church. This gifting from Faith is an extension of the sacrament of Baptism. At baptism, parents promise to teach their children about God and “to place in their hands the Holy Scriptures”. The congregation promises to support the parents in their promise to their children and to God. This moment on Sunday was an important part of our sacred relationship with God and with each other.
Later in the morning fourteen 8th graders participated in the Rite of Affirmation of Baptism (Confirmation). This is the moment when after years of learning and Bible Study, these young people affirm the baptismal promises their parents made for them and now they make them for themselves. I was emotional as I looked at this group of young men and women. I have known almost all of them since they began Sunday School as little ones. It has been an honor to watch them grow in their faith. Full disclosure…this group is squirrelly and full of energy…everything you would expect in middle schoolers. Yet on Sunday, they were so serious about the promises they were making. It was an important moment for them and the congregation in our sacred relationship with God and each other.
Then in the afternoon, after the joy of the morning, our hearts were unbearably heavy. Faith Church was the place for a funeral for a beautiful little baby whose life was way too short. For Eliana, her baptismal life is now complete. She is in the arms of God. While that is a beautiful thought…it is so not fair. Eliana and her parents did not have the opportunity to live out the promises made at her baptism – for Eliana learn and grow and love God.
God’s people came from all over to honor her life; support her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncle; and collectively remember the promise of God. God’s promise is hard to remember at times like this. Our questions for God are loud. Our questions belong in that sanctuary in the midst of the singing, hearing God’s Word and tasting God’s meal. God’s promise is all the more powerful when it is woven in with our questions and doubts. Honoring Eliana’s life and God’s promise for her, is important to our sacred relationship.
This is the day.
Sunday was the day. Today also is the day…and tomorrow.
We don’t have all the answers. We don’t always feel peace. Our days are a mix of joy and sorrow, understanding and doubt, light and dark. God’s promise to us is that God is in our human experience with us. Nothing can separate us from our sacred relationship with God.
This is the day.