Church Life

My First Appointment

My First Appointment of the day arrived at 9:25. Fair of hair and serious of expression, she shook my hand when we met.

She is four years old.

When I made the appointment I imagined a conversation with her
parents, but clearly her father had accompanied her, not the other way
around.

We discussed what will happen at her baptism, and I described my
beliefs about baptism: that God already knows her name, and she is
already counted among those God loves. At baptism we will celebrate
something that is already true.

She listened, but she also explored the stones and the meditation
chime on my coffee table. She unhooked pink Gorilla "Polly" from the
loop on her jeans while her father and I talked. But when I spoke of
Jesus and his baptism, she gave her full attention. She earnestly
described a book at her house that told her all about it. She felt it
might be all right to be baptized in a river or a lake, but she knew we
wouldn’t do that here.

Her father told me they were asking for baptism because the little
girl wanted it and had called her parents to account. She knew her
older brother had been baptized when he was too little to remember it.
Why hadn’t she?

This will be no Infant Baptism. Do we understand My First
Appointment to be a Believer? I do. I will ask her on that day if she
wishes to be baptized, to be known as a member of the family of Jesus
Christ, named by God and by the Church as beloved.

On that day we will acknowledge with a sacramental act the Love that
already surrounds her and claims her. I wonder what the Spirit will
ignite when we do?

Polly the Gorilla sits in my Jesus boat, my reminder of the need for
rest and self-care. Sometimes I love ignition too much to remember that
part.

We shook hands and said good-bye. We will meet again on the awesome day
of her baptism. My First Appointment *is* a beloved daughter, and I
feel sure God is well-pleased.

17 thoughts on “My First Appointment”

  1. Encounters like these are what make our vocation worth every long meeting and every member with a nose out of joint. What a privilege we have!

  2. There’s a joke in there about the pink gorilla in the Jesus boat sitting anywhere she wants, but I’ll be darned if I can come up with it.

  3. awesome – what fire and what passion. I’d find a lake or river 🙂 but that’s only me …
    blessings to you – what a first appointment 🙂

  4. You must be such a blessing to that Church.
    It will be awesome to see the path that this little sister takes.

  5. My colleague says it this way: we give all we know of ourselves to all we know of God. I wish I could be there the day you baptize this little sister! Who knows! Maybe someday she’ll be a RevGal!

  6. I love the way you treat this child as a real person, worthy of respect and communication and straight talk. I wish more adults were so willing to see children that way.

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