Damage Control–Hold An Infant In Our Arms

I thought of my baptism this morning. When reading about the horrific killing of 14 people in San Bernardino and then the chasing and killing of the couple who fired away.

Please stay tagged to this.

It’s the case…the infant baptized, especially within a month or two of their birth, will only remember what they’re told about their baptism. In fact, although I’m sure it could have been counsel not heard let alone followed, in celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism I emphasized for the parents, the family supporting the baptism and the congregation gathered, it is their promise to do what they can to raise the baptized child in the spirit of love and compassion so the child will not be less because of their caring.

I was told, for instance, the tradition in my baptism, a Sunday morning the summer of 1940, was how it didn’t follow the German Congregational pattern. Most of the church members of Zion Congregational Church in Portland, Oregon were immigrants [yep, that be the case for most of us now living in America] from Nordka, Russia. They were of German background, having moved to Russia because they were promised land to farm and freedom in worship. They came to America in the late 19th Century, often transported across the Atlantic in the steerage of cattle boats

The German Congregational baptismal pattern was the infant was carried to the Baptismal Font by one of the godparents. Not so for Hank Miller. He said he would carry his infant son. My mother indicated the Baptism would include his promise to support the family in attending worship and his son’s development in the faith of baptism. Promises always kept by my parents.

Okay. Why think of this?

Because this morning in reading about the horrific slaughter of life in San Bernardino, I read the couple who allegedly did the killing have a 6-month old daughter.

And I thought? What in the world will happen to this child? Especially when the child learns of the terrible robbing of life his parents effected?

Certainly I know “Muslim” is not just in quotes. Certainly I know gut reactions from many of us is that Muslims aren’t worth our time or support. Certainly I know people will look at Muslims as a primary cause of the world’s tension. I know that…and there’s a glimpse of me that nudges in that direction.

BUT. That’s wrong. For it’s not as if there’s any religion that doesn’t include extremists, who see vanquishing the lives of others as holy ground. Again, that’s wrong.

This morning I seek another direction. And it comes from this. To invite each of us to think/ponder/identify the youngest member of our immediate family. For us in immediate family it is Noah and Taylor.

What manner of life will they choose? And how can each of us in the family nurture them?

No, that won’t stop the fanaticism nor will it disintegrate all assault rifles. But it will be a way…in our own self and the manner by which we order life, to prioritize what we think, what we believe and what we value. And how we make sure we’ve done our best to help them walk the human landscape decently and with benefit to those whom they know.

The events of yesterday kept us on CNN. Riveting…and wondering if the damage was a terrorist act. This morning when I learned a 6-month old infant is part of the dastardly scenario…couldn’t help but think about what’s deeper…that possibly we are more riveted to the purpose of living that strengthens lives rather than wipes them out. May that possibility become our reality.

About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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