There are moments in life you wish you could stay in a little longer. This morning we celebrated the baptism of two week old Kip Martin. It was a beautiful morning of grace being poured out. There have been many beautiful baptisms during my time at Winamac First. When little Franklin Crawford was baptized and he knelt at the kneeling rail, he looked up like he was ready to be baptized. He barely fit on the kneeler we had up front for the adults, but he knelt. I decided to kneel with him. We were both in awe of God’s grace that day. I remember baptizing tiny Rocco Hinkle. He looked at me and I looked at him, and as I placed water upon his head, there was something holy, something sacred about that moment. It was full of grace. These are moments I wish I could stay in a little longer.
(Pic on left is of Rocco Hinkle’s baptism and on the right is Franklin Crawford’s baptism.)
The day after Mother’s Day, Candace and I traveled to Fort Wayne to share with her parents the great news that we were expecting. We decided to put a little set of booties and an ultrasound photo in a gift bag to give to our mothers for Mother’s Day. Candace’s mom was getting stronger after an illness, so she really welcomed the news and her dad was speechless. They were full of joy. I wish I could have stayed in that moment a little longer. We drove from Fort Wayne to Knox to share the news with my parents. When my mom opened it and my dad noticed what was in the gift bag, they jumped for joy. I don’t think I’ve ever watched my dad jump before, but they both did that day. I’ve never witnessed such joy and happiness. There were tears, smiles, laughs, hugs, complete and pure joy. I wish I could just sit in that moment a little longer.
As I have been preparing my final message for my congregation in Winamac, I sense myself longing to stay in my office a little longer working on another message. As I say my prayers in the sanctuary before I leave for home, something I do everyday I’m in the office, I again sense myself wanting to stay a little longer gazing upon the altar and cross. Even during worship this morning, I didn’t want to give the blessing because I wanted to keep worshiping God in that space, with those people, singing along with Aaron on the piano, but I had to offer a blessing and send my congregation forth. (Perhaps this is a glimpse of what the Kingdom of God will be like, where we want more worship, more God, more love.)
Today I finished a draft of my final sermon to be given on Sunday, June 14th. As I typed my final words and ended the message as I always do, “Thanks be to God. Amen” I really didn’t want to stop. I know that the next Sunday will be challenging, but full of joy. We will sing God’s praises. We will receive Holy Communion. We will bless each other and God. The service will be full of joy, but it will be challenging to give that last blessing.
Isn’t this the way of the Christian life? We stay in the moment, seeking the grace and presence of Christ in every breath, then we have to move on. We have to “go” as Jesus himself called his followers to do. I am challenging myself to seek God’s grace and presence in every moment this week as I say goodbye. It will be challenging and there will be times where I have a desire to stay in the moment a little longer, but God’s Spirit will guide us and maybe even push us forward. For now though, let us stay in the moment and experience Divine grace. Thanks be to God. Amen.