Monday, June 8, 2009

Ethan's Baptism

The day dawned cloudy and uncertain. After several phone calls and backup plans for the baptism (including an emergency dunk in Dina's pool!), Kelly decided to postpone the baptism to 11:30 a.m. As it turned out, the Lord was not only gracious to give us a beautiful window of good weather for Worship in the Park 2009, but also for the celebration at our house afterwards.

How can I possibly capture the day in words? To see my oldest son baptized by his father, surrounded by family and friends, the day full of God's love and blessing....indescribable.

Sometimes pictures speak louder than words, like the ones above. When Ethan entered the water and waded into William's open arms, to witness the intimate, tender smiles between them brought me to tears. Love. So strong. Between father and son, between Jesus and Ethan.

William baptized Ethan in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit...the names of an indescribably holy God who calls Ethan His chosen and beloved.

Before the baptism, Ethan gave his testimony in front of our church, family and friends. He spoke with confidence about his decision to follow Jesus at a young age and then read his favorite verses, Psalms 103:1-5. Ethan said these are his favorite because they talk about how good and powerful the Lord is. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

This story really began in the winter, when Ethan told us that he wanted to be baptized at Worship in the Park. Just as Ethan in this picture is probing into the wood to find maple syrup (Klein Creek), God's Word was probing his heart. In school and home we had been reading through the Gospels all winter. God tells us in Hebrews: "For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." I love how sweet God is, to move in Ethan's heart at the age of 10 to be obedient in baptism.

He began baptism classes in the spring while juggling school, baseball and swimming. This year he landed on a Longfellow team coached by Keith Litavsky and Josh Gerry...a huge blessing, a reconnection to friends at Longfellow and a reconnection for me too. The dads are William's biking buddies and Bible study friends, those who lift up Ethan and Christian in prayer, who walk with William through the challenges of fatherhood. And for me, to sit through baseball games on lazy Saturdays with my friends, cheering on our boys, is wonderful.

We are blessed to have friends who pray, friends we laugh and cry with, friends with whom we share moments like this. As I looked at those present, I saw my parents, who have prayed for my boys since before they were born, moms who have prayed for Ethan since kindergarten through Moms in Touch, dads who encourage Ethan in sports and life, who, with William, pray, my best friend Dina, who has spent many an hour listening to my heart, William's parents, who bless us in so many ways, his brothers and sisters, and an amazing church led by Pastor Kelly.

It's now been a week, and yesterday as a church body we thanked our amazing God for the beautiful day last Sunday. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Ethan took communion for the first time yesterday, Abuelita explaining it carefully beforehand. As we remembered Jesus' sacrifice for us, Ethan looked over at me and smiled.

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