“People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. “Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” ~ Luke 18:15-17 (The Message)
Yesterday February 19 Sunday was Elysia’s baptism (interesting to note from the ELCA lectionary on February 18, we commorate Martin Luther, renewer of the church, 1546) … it was nice to have our new Bishop Philip Lok come and conduct the baptism (thanks to my friend Scot for the beautiful pictures!). He spoke from the OT passage for the day Isaiah 43:18-25,
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland. …”
May Chin and I & Gareth are delighted that Elysia has two wonderful Godparents one who has been May Chin’s friend since primary school days Wai Mun (we’ve also been together during our student fellowship days so that’s a long time) and another one Chin Hor who became a Christian and got baptised in BLC a number of years back. I just noticed last night … that both their surnames are “Wong” 🙂
For me (who was baptised as an infant and made my return to the faith as a teenager, May Chin was baptised when she was a teenager), I’m amazed by God’s grace upon my life these years and am assured that He truly holds Elysia in His hands and will continue to do so. I know Christians have been “divided” in their understanding of “infant baptism” and the biblical, historical, and theological discussion can be complicated and there’s a place for each person and church to work through these matters. For me, the baptism of Elysia is not only a powerful picture of God’s choosing of her, and including her into his presence & purposes, it’s also receiving her into the community of faith past, present and future and commissioning us as a family and church to nurture our children to walk with us in/with Christ starting now … As parents and a pastor, I find these words from the last century an important challenge (of course, the language is less inclusive – I’ll read the “he” with a “she” in mind as well *smile*).
“What is the true idea of Christian education?-I answer in the following proposition, which it will be the aim of my argument to establish, viz: That the child is to grow up a Christian, and never know himself as being otherwise. In other words, the aim, effort, and expectation should be, not, as is commonly assumed, that the child is to grow up in sin, to be converted after he comes to a mature age; but that he is to open on the world as one that is spiritually renewed, not remembering the time when he went through a technical experience, but seeming rather to have loved what is good from his earliest years. “ ~ Horace Bushnell, Christian Nurture, 1876