Monday, July 1, 2013


image by Steve Parker
image by Steve Parker
This week, I’ll be posting sporadically, as Rebekah and I are going to be crunching out the miles between here and Michigan. We’ll be rocking the RAV4 with our favorite road tunes (Queen, Sting, Robert Palmer, The Beatles et al), and looking forward to some quality family time around “The EPIC Wedding of the Year!”
In the back of our minds, though, doing its usual job of both quieting our souls and inspiring our day-to-day living, will be yesterday’s worship experience here at FPCBrandon. I’m not sure when the office staff will post the link on the church website, but do yourself a favor and listen in to Sunday’s message on “Worship.”
If you weren’t at the 11:00 service then you’ll just have to imagine what was going on during the loud roars of laughter you’ll hear a few minutes in to Rebekah’s message. A large spider chose the best possible moment to rappel all the way from the vaulted ceiling to the pulpit, its dangling appearance dovetailing with the message to perfection!
image by Derek Maul
BAPTISM: But it’s these pictures, taken during the baptism of the newest Okwen child, that tell the story best for me. This is what it all comes down to, that tender moment when we present ourselves, and our families, at God’s feet; claiming our status as God’s children, owning our need for redemption, and promising to live into the promise of new life in Jesus.
Rebekah took Ambang Yirinwei Okwen in her arms, blessed her, and baptized her in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. “Her name,” Roland and Beryl Okwen said, “means ‘Praise God!’”
Moments like this always remind me of the following scripture, from the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel, when Zachariah welcomed his new child into the world:
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace
image by Derek Maul
image by Derek Maul
This imperative to shine the light of Jesus on those living in darkness, and to guide the feet of God’s children into the path of peace, turns out to be the exact mission of the church,
One of the ways we do this is through baptism, when we celebrate new life by affirming the new covenant God has made with his children. Ambang was welcomed into this family of faith, her parents recommitted themselves to raising her in the knowledge of the love of God, and the congregation pledged to be an active part of the process.
And the entire church smiled. And God is smiling too. - DEREK