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baptism by lamplight

"Mama!" Harvey shouts from the other room, "We follow Jesus even though we're not baptized!"

This is enough to pull me away from my sewing machine and the superhero capes that I'm making the boys. I walk to my bedroom where Harvey and Zion are playing on the bed.

We had read our picture book of the Nicene creed that morning, and it seems as if Harvey is doing some processing about baptism.

"You follow Jesus even though you're not baptized?" I repeat to him. He nods. I don't want to tell him that actually he WAS baptized, because Zion wasn't, and I don't want either of them to feel left out among their peer group now that we go to a church which practices on adult baptism.

"You can be baptized if you want to, Harvey," I say. "Once you decide to follow Jesus."

"But we DO follow Jesus," he says.

Well yes, corporately, as a family that's true. But in our modern protestant theology there's an individual choice that's important too. I say:

"Well, to be baptized you have to realize that you need Jesus, and you have to decide to follow him for your whole life." Suddenly I feel anxious, like I'm forgetting some part of the formula. How do I lead someone through a salvation, again? What if I'm tested on it on Sunday?

"Everybody needs Jesus," he says.

"True" I say. Nobody can argue with that. But there's this issue of sin that I remember is important.

"Why do you need Jesus?" I ask.

Harvey looks at me with his spotless face. "Because he takes care of me!" he says.

This is Harvey my budding saint who the other day screamed from the bathroom, "Mama! It's amazing! God healed Zion's Poison Ivy!" Because the red spot on Zion's arm had disappeared miraculously after a seven day waiting period. And I don't want to say, Well, Zion's body healed the poison ivy. Because isn't it miraculous that God made our bodies so ready to heal themselves? Who am I to say that God heals instantly but the bodies he created heal in seven days? Maybe Harvey's faith is better than mine. Maybe I shouldn't bother him with sin.

But I try.

"He does take care of you, Harvey." I say. "And also he takes away your sins. If you do something bad that separates you from God, Jesus takes the sin away from you. That's an important part of baptism..."

But Harvey is not listening anymore. He has gotten up and gone back to his play, which is putting small pieces of paper into the bedside lamp to see if they'll catch on fire. This is what he was doing, apparently, while I was sewing his birthday present.

And I think, never mind the sins. Thank You Jesus for taking care of him.

superhero capes without letters

ripped from my hands before I could add logos


PRECIOUS!!!! I love the faith of kids. :-)

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