Five or six years old, I remember being baptized.
Some of the usual components were in place: parents and god-parents, church and pastor.
But I think it was at night. I know for certain that there was no one there, except for two families, ours and one other. We were all close friends; my parents are god-parents to their kids, the other set are god-parents to us.
Four or five of us were baptized in the space of a few minutes, and that was it.
Here’s my point about baptism. As part of the service the parents swear to raise the children as Christians; in the event that the parents pass on, the god-parents promise to take up that burden.
But if both the parents and their back-up are not Christians themselves, the kids are not taught about Christ.
How is a child to hear the Gospel if the parents don’t want to hear it? At best they get sent to church, at worst they never hear of God’s love at all.
Omaha Nebraska. Robert Hawkings. 19 year old suicidal troubled man shoots up a mall, killing eight people, wounding more before taking his own life. He was probably baptized as I was, parents and god-parents and insincere pledges to God.
People get twisted up inside, some more than others, and guilt is what does most of the twisting.
Guilt about having failed, guilt about law breaking-as “All have sinned, and fall short of the Glory of God”
We are all guilty. And guilt is like battery acid on the soul.
We all have to deal with our guilt; mine was hung on a tree, meaning that when I accepted Christ, all of my sins, my guilt, was washed away.
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
If Robert Hawkings had heard and accepted that good news, he and many others would be alive today.
But I can’t really say that-nothing changes the past. No one knows the number of his days. I have compassion for those in Omaha who have lost loved ones, have suffered because of the sad young man who didn’t know what to do with his guilt. He was a failure; in part his parents failed him first. And if he was baptized, and had god-parents, they failed, too.
Psalm 37 is one of my favorites, not for it’s description of the fate of the wicked, but how it describes the Love which God has for us. Take time to read it today. And may God richly Bless you.