Originally posted July 14, 2011, at Ephphatha. Republished with permission of the author.
“But, you are not alone in this As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand ”
These words come from the song “Timshel” by Mumford and Sons and it has been on steady replay on my iPhone of late.
I arrived late to the fandom of M&S but must say, now that I have been blessed to discover them, I am a huge fan. A friend of mine sent me this song on a day when life was busy, hectic, frustrating and maybe even scary.
As I heard the soft but bold proclamation of not being alone I was reminded of the power that is community and was taken back to the reality that I am blessed — no matter how messy and hard life becomes — I am blessed and all I have is truly a gift from God — it’s all grace really — all of it.
A couple of Sundays ago we had a baptism at Advent. No matter how many times I go through the Service of Baptism, I am always struck by the power that comes from a community promising to support the baptized and the family who brings them forward.
After the parents have promised to support their child and to live into the responsibilities we charge them with, the sponsors have promised to support the baptized and the parents, then the community of God also speaks a word of hope. “People of God,” we ask the congregation, “do you promise to support this child and pray for them in their new life in Christ?” The congregation then responds, “I do.”
In our setting I invite all the children present to come forward and gather around the font so that they truly feel part of what is going on.
They might get wet, they might make noise, but they need to be there.
Before asking the community of God gathered if they promise to love and support the baptized I instruct the children as well to think about that — what that means, what we as a body of Christ are really saying when we make these promises to the baptized and really to each other.
I am struck by the reality that part of what we are saying is, “You are not alone in this. As the community that surrounds you, we will hold your hand.”
We are not alone
This promise of not being alone is one that I think all of us need to be reminded of again and again.
The reality of not being alone begins and stems from the promise of an almighty God who declares that we will never be abandoned by God. Joined to God in unity our relationship with the body of Christ gives us the tangible reality that we are not alone in this world at all.
At the heart of community comes the pledge, the promise, the declaration that we will walk together through it all.
Yes, life will get hard, broken, scary even and in that moment we need most to let our guard down a bit and allow the community that loves us to carry us.
Find a link to Justin Grimm’s blog Ephphatha at Lutheran Blogs.