Tag Archives: First Christian Church of Orange

Picture 245

My Child, My Sister

Picture 245Something wonderful happened this past Sunday.

Em joined our church.

Em has been attending worship services and kids’ activities in our church her entire life. She’s been a member of the children’s choir and led worship services. She’s attended summer camps and bible studies. But she technically wasn’t a member.

Membership in the church is a personal choice. Em decided to answer the minister’s question that is asked of all people seeking to join our church: “Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and do you proclaim Him Lord of your life and Savior of the world?” Em chose to stand up in front of the entire congregation and proclaim, “YES!” Em decided that participation wasn’t enough for her, she wanted to make a statement that she is committed to our church and to following Christ’s example in her life. She wanted to be counted among the members of our congregation.

Em has also chosen to take another big step in her faith journey: baptism.

As an infant, Em was dedicated by a former associate minister, a small ceremony in which the whole congregation promises to help raise the child with love and knowledge of Christ. Baptism in our church is traditionally a choice made by a child, youth or adult when they feel they are ready to make that public proclamation of faith. Em has chosen to have our current interim pastor baptize her this coming Sunday. She and 5 other kids in our congregation (who also joined the church this past Sunday) will all be baptized in our sanctuary during our worship service.

There was never any doubt in my mind that Em would join the church and be baptized in her faith. Her thirst for knowledge and understanding of Christianity has always made me proud. I’m sure I’ll be crying when she comes out of the water and joins me in the church not only as my daughter, but also as my sister in Christ.

Thoughts – May 27, 2012

John 13:34-35; John 15:12-13

Imagining: a friend in my close circle of friends approaches me and pledges to protect me and sacrifice their life for mine. There is nothing I can do or say to my friend to convince them that I don’t want them to give up their life for mine, that my life is not important enough to be worthy of sacrifice. But I can’t convince my friend to see things my way. Nothing I say will change their mind. My friend will lay down their life for me. This friend loves me that much.

What can I do to repay that offer of protection and sacrifice? How can I show my gratitude for this amazing show of love? Is there anything I can do to appropriately acknowledge the gift that I have been given?

Perhaps the only thing I can do to prove myself worthy of this gift, to show that I truly do appreciate this gift is to do my best to show that magnitude of love and devotion to others. To do whatever I can as a person, a human, a mortal to enrich and sustain the lives of others. ALL others. Others of different faiths, different beliefs, different races, different politics.

Because loving only those who are like me, who are the same as me, is not love. True love is not selective. True love is inclusive. True love includes sacrifice. Sacrifice of self and being. You cannot receive love without giving love in return.

If you were told that the only thing you were required to do in your lifetime was to love everyone, would you? Could you? Would you at least try? We may not be capable of perfect love, but we can certainly try.

And perhaps, with enough effort, we can come close to knowing what it is like to offer our lives as a sacrifice for another’s. To want to do anything to protect someone and ensure their safety, here and now. And later.

Thoughts – May 20, 2012

Luke 24: 13-27

Today’s sermon was told as a story. A story based on today’s scripture. The point of the sermon was the importance of telling our story. Telling our faith story to others, telling our family story to others. If faith stories were not told and retold to strangers and family, faith would not grow and spread and touch the lives of others, would not encourage others to explore their own faith.

Why do you believe? What in your past, your family history, your personal experience leads you to believe that God is God, that Christ is Christ? What motivates you to live your life as close as possible to Christ’s example?

For myself, I don’t exactly know my story, at least not in words that I can easily string together in a comprehensible statement. But what I do know is that my works, the way I can best show people my faith in action, the best example of Christ I can emulate is to do for others what they cannot do for themselves. I give. I give blood, I gave a kidney, I’m trying to give a family a child, I pay for random strangers’ groceries when they have left their credit card at home and the cash they have is not enough. I give money to my church on a regular basis, including when I receive extra money I didn’t expect or earn. I have seen immediate and delayed results of my gifts and that is the affirmation I get that my faith “story,” as it were, is working, is a testimony that others can see.

My personal “story” is that if I cannot teach or heal or do, I can give to the best of my ability.

What is your story? What gives you the ability to stand up and say, “I believe in Christ?”