I’m a young clergyperson, ordained as an Elder in the United Methodist Church. Whenever I baptize a child, I do so with a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Who will this child become? Am I baptising a saint or a sinner, the next Mother Theresa or Stalin? What will this child’s relationship be with the church: will this child accept Christ later in life or forsake him? Will this child be gay or straight? Will they dye their hair into an embarrassingly late age? Will they cure cancer?
I have no idea.
But the truth is…all that uncertainty doesn’t matter.
Not knowing what will happen doesn’t stop me from dipping my hands in the water and welcoming the child into the church family. No amount of uncertainty keeps me from marking the child with water and I know God marks them with the Spirit.
This weekend about 650 young adults join together to discern their calls to ministry at Exploration 2011. When their pastors baptized them, I doubt they knew they would answer a call to ministry. Even if they were just baptized a few months ago, there was no foreknowledge this is where they would end up.
And tonight the young adults themselves don’t know what this call to ministry is…what it might look like, where they might go with it, what God would have them do with it. And that’s okay.
As we begin tonight with remembering our baptisms, my hope for these young adults (many less than 5-10 years younger than me!) is that they remember God was not uncertain about their baptisms. God knew every possible trajectory they would walk on. God knows every possibility and knew that one of those paths would lead them here. They have been called here for a purpose and my hope is that they live into that uncertainty of what could be and embrace it.
You, young adult, are a water-washed and spirit-born children of God. Remember your baptism and be thankful. The church family ever since you were born has taken it on faith, has loved you even without knowing who you would become. And now this next step: stepping out into the unknown is a scary one. But one that I hope your church families, and your chosen families, are behind you once again even if they don’t know where you will end up.
I’m one of the bloggers for this weekend event. My blog posts for this weekend will focus on this uncertainty: what do you do with a call you are not positive about, and even if you know your call, how do you live it out? That’ll be the primary topic of my blogging, though there will be anecdotes and reports on experience mixed in. I hope you enjoy the journey with me.
I hope you enjoy the journey.
Remember your baptism and be thankful.