One of the great joys of ministry is baptizing infants. We Methodists believe that God does the baptizing. Ministers are the human instruments of His gracious activity in the sacrament. Methodists are so laid back; we run the gamut from immersing believers to sprinkling infants. We have a mid-point known as affusion. If you have never seen affusion, it looks like a college prank that somehow was introduced into the church as a gag. For those of you not up on your liturgical language, affusion is pouring water over the head of the baptismal candidate.
Most babies are cute and I love holding that baby for those few moments during the baptismal service. Other times things are not so smooth. One Sunday, Junior had a pacifier in his mouth and before I took that child from mom to baptize him, mom pulled the pin. Taking a pacifier from a baby and pulling the pin on a grenade share similarities. The result of both actions will be loud!
Several infants have fallen asleep in my arms during their baptism. They are so sweet and precious. Oddly I have been a minister for so long that those babies who fell asleep are now full members of the church and they still fall asleep in church. So Sunday when you see a brother or sister sleeping in church, you can speculate if they slept through their baptism too. You can also remember that once they too were a cute baby, or maybe not!
I suspect that many of the infants I have baptized recently will live to see the year 2100. I will not. I wonder what they will see and experience. Think about all the changes you have witnessed in your lifetime. Technology innovates at a rate that is mindboggling. In the last decade we were all introduced to the smart phone. Before that our phones were not very bright, but now look at what they could do.
The next time you see an infant or child, be amazed. You are likely looking at someone who will experience the next century. I am urging you to pray for our children that they experience a world of love and peace. Pray that we use technology in a way that brings community and not conflict. Pray that the little ones know peace and that they always know the power of human beings to love one another.
The little ones will experience a future that you and I create for them and leave to them. I thought you might need to ponder that the next time you were in the presence of an infant. They will live a future, many of them to and beyond 2100. And you, through them can touch that future too.
That might be why this story is recorded in the sacred text.
One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.
Pray for a child, they hold the keys to the kingdom of God.