This Sunday I will baptize my daughter Perl Teresa Amory-Pinkerton at Church in the Cliff and invite everyone to join us for worship. This will be my first time to administer the sacrament of baptism and what a strange and glorious thing to be able to baptize my own little one, born almost exactly one year ago.
In fact, I went into the labor the evening of another baptism, that of my sister Heather’s baby Aiden. Heather and her partner Kate were the first same sex couple to have their baby baptized at First Richardson UMC. I remember with such clarity the power of being in front of that large community, praying over Aiden- his head still wet, feeling the touch of the Spirit around me and through me. The senior pastor of First Richardson who officiated the baptism was so supportive and members of the congregation stopped their car in the parking lot to congratulate Heather and Kate and reach out to them. This day healed many wounds for my family, one of many faithful Methodist families and individuals working for full inclusion of GLBT folks into our church.
The very night of Aiden’s baptism with thunderclouds blowing in I stepped out on our veranda and invited our baby to be born. I stood in the wild wind and I felt it move and I felt the baby move and I said yes God. Yes, I am ready. Yes baby, yes we are ready for you. We will catch you and keep you and love you. And sweet Perl was born at high noon the next day, August 11 2008.
Baptism is an ancient practice which speaks to the movement of God in our lives. Like the winds on the night of Perl’s birth, God’s grace blows before we are even born, throughout our lives, and continues after our death. Baptism is an act of God in and through the church. Through infant baptism we celebrate that God says yes to us before we are even capable of saying yes to God.
In an ecumenical and emergent environment like at Church in the Cliff, we have the privilege of celebrating the diversity of the Christian tradition and consequently infant baptism may be a new practice for some and I welcome your participation. CitC is our church family and Richie, Coleman and I look forward to celebrating this special day with you all. I think the multiple perspectives we bring on these ancient sacraments only helps us to look at them more closely, to study them more fully, and to hold them more dearly. And hopefully to love each other more deeply in them and through them.
Please join us tonight as we eat Indian food and talk more about baptism and the theme of this week, hanging out with children as a spiritual practice. We meet at the Semrad’s home at 6:30 (call 213.233.4605 for directions) and all are welcome!
Grace and peace to you this day,