Baptism, Chaos and Grace
I am on the verge of aching, have been for a couple of days. I’m not quite sure why. There certainly are enough viruses going around to contribute to the aches. But my guess is that it’s not that, or at least, not only that. I often ache when things have been stressful.
I have been obsessing over the 9+ baptisms on the 18th. It is partly the logistics of the whole thing – how do we do 9+ people? Ray and Elizabeth and I agreed to figure it out next week. I am trying to let go of that part of it.
I’m just not sure the pastoral wisdom I think I’ve used justifies the theological and liturgical issues. The ones that most get in my way include the fact that we haven’t talked about what they will be committing to, all of things about worshiping, educating, etc. I met with them all on Saturday and my conversation with them was all grace – the gift of it all. God’s unlimited grace and love. I never mentioned the responsibilities or what they’ll say they believe. Some people would be very upset over that. And the baptism candidates might be a bit surprised. I haven’t figured out how to let them in on that part.
But still, given all of the context including: the black family and a white female pastor dynamics; the recent history of the funeral of J, killed in a drug deal gone bad; and not least of all, the Spirit’s work in this, I still believe that to have said ‘no’ or to have put demands on their process would have been a travesty far worse than the looseness (grace?) with which we will be going about this. I’m not sure I expect to ever see them in church again. On the other hand, I never expected any of them to ever be interested in baptism either. I was pretty certain that I’d never see them after J’s funeral – perhaps until the next funeral. So, I guess I’ve decided to err on the side of grace. Surely that is forgivable!
Original journal entry date: 1/9/09
©2019 Jane Buckley-Farlee All rights reserved.
2/13/2019 03:50:27 pm
Grace above all, Mary Poppins!
2/14/2019 12:45:49 pm
2/13/2019 06:25:34 pm
Absolutely forgivable I'd say! And think of the changes in the last 10 years since you wrote that piece. Thank you.
2/14/2019 12:47:07 pm
Yes. It is totally forgivable.
2/13/2019 06:52:10 pm
After a service many years ago in Trinity's basement of Our Lady of Perpetual Help building, I had a conversation with our new choir director (who belonged to a non-liturgic denomination which I won't identify) that never leaves me. The director opined to me that he was disturbed (I think appalled really) to realize that some congregants in our recent service were not "born again" or capable of bearing witness to Jesus. I refrained from challenging him, I'm sorry to say, but I wanted to argue that a worship service should welcome those who wonder and hunger and want to learn. "Forbid them not." Isn't that what Jesus wants? Yay, Jane. Keep our arms open.
2/14/2019 01:02:42 pm
Ruth, I agree completely. I'd much rather be amongst people with questions and doubts than with people who have all the answers.
2/13/2019 07:17:07 pm
I concur with the other author that so much has happened since 2009..,and God is still very much in our midsts & Grace continues to guide you among our commmnity on the West Bank! I’m grateful for that!
2/14/2019 01:04:11 pm
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At less than 4'11'' a pastor and the congregation she serves practice radical hospitality in a primarily Muslim neighborhood.