I say all of this to families not to woo them into church engagement, but because it is true. Baptism is fundamental to the church universal, yes; but, in this particular place, it is looked upon and seen as a gift for all—a gift that whether received or witnessed, blesses all of us gathered together. The sacrament of baptism is the beginning of the life, and journey, of faith. Anyone can attend and participate in the congregation, regardless if they are baptized or not. Baptism, however, is where we publicly, initially (and formally) receive the gifts of forgiveness of sins and new life in and through the death and resurrection of the Crucified and Risen Jesus and are welcomed into the body of Christ, that is the church, to learn and grow in the faith given to us by the Holy Spirit. Brandy and I were very intentional when the time came to have our oldest, Aidan, baptized. We had no church home in Iowa and were eager to not push it off too much further since he was already nearly six months old. So, surrounded by our family, friends, and a deeply loving congregation, we chose to have him baptized the same night I was ordained in Texas. As we were embarking on a new journey of ordained ministry here with you all, simultaneously our son was beginning his journey of faith. I still get tingles every time I think about it.
So now, it feels like déjà vu. Our youngest, Grayson, is a hair over six months old and again we are about to embark on a new journey. Again, Brandy and I want to be very intentional about it and are not eager to push his baptism off any further. Surrounded by family, friends, and two deeply loving congregations, we’ve decided to have him baptized here in Nebraska. Here is where he was born. Here is where we have been blessed these last four and a half years. Here is where you all kept us and him in constant prayer as we prepared for our family to grow from three to four. Just because Grayson will not physically be here as he learns and grows in his faith, does not mean that you all won’t be loving and supporting him from afar. I believe without a doubt that you will love and care for him, as much as you have for Aidan, as much as you have for Brandy and I. As such, we long to share this joyous day of Grayson’s baptism with you all. He will be baptized by Bishop Brian Maas, of the Nebraska Synod, at Alma Lutheran Church in Mead on Sunday, February 11th. Worship will be at 10:30am, and we will be having a meal afterwards downstairs that we would love for you to attend in honor of this beautiful occasion. If there is any gift you can give, it is the gift of your presence that day and the gift of your promises—to support and pray for Grayson as he begins his new life in Christ. I hope you’ll be able to be there with us! Thank you.