Friday, April 30, 2010

The Invitation

A few days ago a wedding invitation showed up in the mailbox. It came from someone I remember as a child. Molly was the first child of Burley and Debbie. I had the privilege of baptizing her a long time ago when I was pastor at the St. John Church in Columbus. It turned out to be a three generation baptism. Her Dad who was not a believer before her birth came to faith in Christ, in part, through the miracle of her birth. I had the great joy of baptizing him as well. After his baptism this father started sharing his new faith in Christ with his mother who was terminally ill with cancer. I still remember the day we gathered at her home to receive her profession of faith and baptize Molly's grandmother.
When I opened the card and saw that Molly was about to be married, I was honored to be remembered by this family from so long ago. Neither could I help but to have my heart warmed by the remembrance of the way that God allowed me to have a small part in the faith journey of these three family members. This story of faith in Christ has found found a place in many a sermon preached over the years and its witness has inspired many gathered congregations.
The invitation reminded me of what ministry is all about. You would think from eavesdropping on the Administrative Board meetings of most United Methodist Churches that ministry is about money, building maintenance, and power politics. Time obliterates those kinds of things. The number of new members received in a certain year may have seemed important at the moment, but has long ago been forgotten. What is remembered and carried in the heart with such joy and gratitude are stories of faith, stories like the three generation baptism. Those are the only ones which really count!

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