Saturday, May 7, 2011

Birth of an Heirloom: The Grandaddy Letters, Volume 2

Rebekah's good work
I may have mentioned before in this space how Rebekah is pretty much a genius at everything she does. Any task she puts her mind to, she does well; end of story. In fact, she's partly to blame for the "Live Like You Mean It" anti-mediocrity credo that serves as a thread of continuity running through so much of my work.

We may not be actual grandparents yet - we have to wait until mid-October for that privilege - but that doesn't mean there is no grandparenting to be done. Not, that is, if you can pull out a sewing machine and resurrect a skill-set lying dormant for several decades.

Rebekah's mother's sewing machine...
Heirloom baptismal gowns have to come from somewhere, and Rebekah decided the best place of all is from a heart of love. It's been a project several weeks in the making, and this week she finally put the finishing touches to a gown she conceived, designed, tweaked and made. It is, in a word, exquisite.

As I was brought up in the Baptist Church, I thought long and hard about infant baptism back when Andrew and Naomi came into this world. 

I was baptized at age 14, on an Easter Sunday at the Folkestone Baptist Church in England. It was the first time Rev. Pike had immersed anyone from a kneeling position (my idea). But kneeling really was the only practical option after the unfortunate incident of the previous month - a bona fide catastrophe involving an unanticipated but spectacular double-dunking that took both the good reverend and the hefty lady he was baptizing all the way under. She went back, he went back, and four feet shot straight up into the air. It was a beautiful moment for those of us sitting in the balcony.

Covenant Baptism: 
But I digress. Infant baptism made great sense once I understood the event in terms of Covenant. In the Old Covenant - God's agreement with Abraham and the Children of Israel - circumcision represented the commitment. Christ's "New Covenant" is also a sign and a seal of God's promise. Baptism is a mark that declares "this family belongs to God!" Andrew and Naomi were - are - children of promise in the same way. Baptism isn't a ticket to salvation, it's a sign that God's covenant promise is faithful.

This new baptismal gown - made by hand, by Rebekah - is one way we can say that our new baby grandchild is a part of the household of God and surrounded by deep and abiding love. Our love, God's love, Naomi and Craig's love, all wrapped around this amazing miracle of insistent life.

The birth may be a long five months down the road. But we've seen the sonogram; Naomi and Craig have heard the heartbeat; Naomi saw the baby "turning somersaults" at the doctor's office this week....

.... And, most importantly, this little life is well known by God, a special and specific creation of wonder and promise. "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1)

Love is most often a deliberate, faithful and ongoing collection of small things. Mother Teresa famously said, "There are no great things; only small things with great love."

This new gown, then, is one very great small thing!

In love and because of promise - DEREK

1 comment:

Grandma Grace said...

beautiful Gown !! Rebekah is SO gifted ! Thanks for sharing this.You were not baptised as a baby , BUT you did have a Special Service of Dedication (complete with "Gown" ) when you were a few weeks old.