There are days that mark passages of time. Sunday was one of those days in my family. Our first grandchild was presented to the Lord for dedication. Kiele brought her parents, grandparents (me and Mark), godparents, aunts and uncle before the church. Our pastor welcomed Kiele into the fold of believers. She, of course, didn’t understand the pageantry and symbolism but loved all the attention none the less.
So much emotion filled my heart. On a personal level, memories of standing in the same spot with my husband came flooding back to me. A quick 23 years ago, we presented Kiele’s mother, Rachael, to the Lord with many of the same saints looking on. God was blatantly showing off His faithfulness. I was overwhelmed. All those years ago, we promised to teach Rachael of the ways of God, that she would be part of the community of God’s family. Most importantly, we promised to seek the Lord’s wisdom and help in raising her. The congregation made a promise that day as well. They promised to support us. They did. Among the crowd were her Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, and mentors. It was just as wonderful for them as it was for her father and me to see those promises fulfilled. Here were Rachael and her husband, bringing their own child and making promises to seek God’s grace on behalf of their daughter. Fill circle. As for sweet Kiele, she has now been pledged to Christ. It is the first step in her journey toward the wedding feast of the Lamb.
My own journey began with being baptized as an infant in the Episcopal church. As tradition dictated, my parents presented me and on my behalf, passed me through the waters. As I grew, they taught me about God, His Son, Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit. At the age of 12, I chose to become part of the fellowship by the laying on of hands at Confirmation. I confirmed the baptism I had received as a baby. Even as I began to attend the Nazarene church as an adult, I always knew that my baptism and confirmation were complete and sufficient statements of faith. That is until they weren’t…
During a season of personal revival, the idea of a second baptism kept coming back to me. Easter was the time when our church baptized new believers. Since I wasn’t a new believer, I had been happy to let those events come and go. But this year was different. I couldn’t think about baptism without crying. I knew God was calling me back to the water. I didn’t doubt the validity of the first, but my new heart and awakening spirit needed a fresh baptism.
It was during this time that the Lord showed me an analogy for this wooing of the heart. As the bride of Christ, I see my journey in light of a marriage:
- At my infant baptism, my parents arranged that I should be wed to Jesus.
- At my confirmation, I agreed to that future wedding – I gave my own consent.
- At my second baptism, I was officially betrothed or engaged to Christ. In Jewish tradition, the betrothal referred to the negotiations requisite for the arranging of a marriage which was conducted by members of the two families and usually required the consent of the prospective bride; but when the agreement was entered into, it was definite and binding upon both the groom and the bride, who were considered as man and wife in all legal and religious aspects except that of actual cohabitation. During this time, the bride would prepare herself for her new role as a wife. She would get to know her groom and his family. The groom would prepare their eventual home. Often the groom would pay for the bride in some way. Jesus paid dearly for his bride with his own blood on the cross.
This is the time in which I now live. At my death or the coming again of Jesus, I will attend the wedding feast of the Lamb. My Groom, Jesus, will take His bride, the Church, to His Father’s home where He has been preparing a place for us. There we will ever be together.
My dear Kiele’s divine romance has just begun. Our Groom has already started growing her up in Him. He will show her His love in a thousand ways. And we, as her family, have pledged to help her recognize His hand and learn His voice.
Jesus said that His Father’s house has many rooms. The family of God continues to grow. On that great day, we will be home. What a glorious day that will be.
Grace and peace,