Monday, May 28, 2007

Following Jesus

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Around the church there has been anticipation and talk about the upcoming baptism service over the past few weeks--and Tiffany-Amber and Victoria surprised us all by asking if they could be baptized. We had family discussions--were they too young--did they understand the step they wanted to take? In the end their parents decided that if they were old enough to say that they wanted to follow Jesus, then they were old enough to be baptised.
Pastor Dave interviewed them both, to be sure that they understood, and agreed that they did--so it was a go--and today was the day. They joined two men, one woman and two teenagers in being baptized.
I was leading worship and Pastor Dave asked me to show the baptismal tank to all of the children on the platform just prior to Sunday School--and explain what would be happening. The pastor's grandson Rowan, had thrown a ball into the tank before church started and there it sat on the bottom. The children noticed it and gathered precariously close to the edge--fascinated. "Step away from the tank!" I said to the little flock.
The week before, two small china mugs had been given to me by Mr. Jolly, a friend of ours. They had been given to him and his wife Dorothy (who recently passed away) by Stanley, a mutual friend who had a developmental disability and who died on May 29th 2003, when he was 87. The girls used to call him Poppa Stan--and he was like a grandfather to them. Tiffany-Amber, especially, gets misty eyed when she speaks of him--she was five when he died and remembers him. I asked Mr. Jolly if he minded me giving the china mugs to Victoria and Tiffany-Amber as a baptismal gift from Poppa Stan and he was delighted to agree to the plan.
Tonight I heard from Alan, a friend who is Roman Catholic, that he assisted in a First Communion service at Holy Family Catholic Church today in Toronto. He started to tell me this by saying, "It being Pentecost Sunday..." How ironic that I, who go to a Pentecostal church, had not realized that it was Pentecost Sunday today! He told me that he then went on to another Roman Catholic church, where he was present for the First Communion of Anna, the daughter of Alex, another friend, who is Anglican, but whose daughter attends a Catholic school with her brother and has chosen to have her First Communion in the Catholic Church. Aidan, her brother, had been confirmed in the Anglican church in January.
Three denominations among many, in which children, teens and adults are declaring and confirming their faith in one God and His Son Jesus Christ.
Our son, Peter, who is on the pastoral team at our church, Hillside Pentecostal Assemly in Tottenham, and who preached at the baptismal service, mentioned in his sermon, that he has been following an interesting discussion that our church youth have been having on Facebook about the fact that there are different denominations. Facebook--a platform for theological debate--among youth--a whole new generation of disciples that we should rejoice over!
Prayer: Dear Father, I thank you for those who today took the step of declaring their faith publicly--Tiffany-Amber, Victoria, Anna--and the many others who did. From our church those were: Ann, Thelma, Sam, Heather and Richard. Please watch over each of them and bless them with an ever increasing awareness of your Presence in their lives.

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