Saralyn will be baptized tomorrow. It’s really going to be a big to do. I’ve been planning this with Tony for weeks, nay months. We selected the date so more people would be free to come, and come they are.
The reception following the service is all ready: platters of foods and cake have been delivered to the church, the table is laid out with decorations and candles, and all is ready for a quick outlay from the fellowship hall fridge tomorrow morning. I am ready to be a good host on a special day.
I have to tell you, on the way out of the church, with all the prep and setup behind me, I finally relaxed. It’s all there. I am done with the minutiae and can now focus on the ceremony. The ACTUAL baptism. Thank God. Literally.
It’s strange how this feeling rhymes with the story my friend Iris tells about getting ready for Passover. Iris, along with her husband Bob, keep a fine, conservative Jewish home. They clean and cook like mad people for Passover. But, Iris says, when she sits down for Seder that first night, she has a sense of peace. For another year, this work is done. She can focus on special ritual that has been observed for uncountable years. She usually takes this time off from work, too, so she knows that she will be able to just REST and spend time at home with family.
It’s also strange how Bob and Iris, through their religious home, have been a strong influence in bringing me, and by extension my family, closer to God. (HA! I bet you didn’t know that you helped build a better Lutheran, did you Iris?!?!?) Iris has always welcomed me and my family to Friday night dinner at her home. It was there that I really began to enjoy faith again. Their family LIVES their faith every day, with every meal. Iris lights her candles every Friday night and welcomes the light. Bob blesses his children and they absorb the sanctification. They listen together to the night’s reading, and discuss it with humor and reverence.
They showed me that faith makes you a better person. I wanted that for my kids. For my family. For me.
So tomorrow, we Baptize. Lutherans believe in the one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Salvation is a gift that can’t be earned and we don’t deserve, but it’s ours though God’s grace. Tomorrow seals Saralyn forever to the body of Christ. But, that’s just a beginning. Her father and I, along with her godparents, will spend most of her youth teaching her how to LIVE her faith and traditions.
I hope we can do as good a job as Bob and Iris.