Though I will greatly miss worshiping with my Community Church family this Sunday I am very excited about being at North Shore Fellowship, PCA to celebrate the covenant baptism of my first grandchild, Ella Francis Boykin.
There will be all sorts of thoughts and emotions bouncing around in my head and heart this Sunday. I'll certainly think back upon my own covenant baptism on Easter Sunday of 1960 ... when my parents publicly declared that they believed God's promises to be their God and a God to me, their child. I constantly stand amazed at the abundance of God's grace in my life, that He brought me to Himself and has now even chosen to use me in the ministry of His church. I would have lost all sorts of bets as a kid on how this has turned out! I'll also think upon the covenant baptisms of my own children and how, once again, God has been faithful to bless Anita and me with boys and three daughters-in-law who profess Christ. I'll be thinking of the very first baptism I performed. On the night of my ordination in 1989 I had the utter joy and privilege of baptizing Seth ... and though he may have Down Syndrome he may have the closest relationship with the Lord of anyone in our family!
I imagine this Sunday I'll tear up a bit (and those tears will likely be running down my cheeks) as I'm a part of the congregation where my granddaughter will receive the sign and seal of God's covenant of grace. This obviously doesn't guarantee her salvation any more than it did for me or any of my children, but the promise from God is real, the grace of God is real, what the baptism signs and seals is real, the blood of Christ that was shed is real, the Holy Spirit who works in our hearts is real, and the blessings of being a part of God's family is real. Though not a member of the North Shore congregation, I'll be making a commitment to do everything I can to make sure that one day Ella stands before God's people and professes Jesus Christ as her Savior, Redeemer, Lord. My hope won't be in my ability to keep my commitments, nor in the ability of her parents to keep the commitments they'll be making, but rather in the ability of a God who loved Ella so much that He sent His Son Jesus for her. My hope is that God will not only draw her to Himself but will continue this covenant blessing in our family through her children for generations to come.
Just so happens the following week, the first Sunday in March (Mar 4), we will be baptizing some folks here at CPC. These won't be infants or babies, but rather some who are old enough to publicly profess their faith. However, it's the same covenant God and saving grace we'll celebrate. Again, I'll miss you this Sunday but will return with a renewed hope in the grace of our covenant God.