253. What great things, then does Baptism give or work?
It works forgiveness of sins;
b. It delivers from death and the devil;
c. It gives eternal salvation.
-- Luther's Small Catechism
I went to church tonight. The last few weeks I have been going to church on Saturday nights as opposed to Sunday mornings. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is I have a class on Saturday that meets all day, so I have to have Saturdays off, the second reason is that the Saturday service is always a traditional service, the Sunday service I usually go to alternates between traditional and contemporary and I can never remember which week is which. So, to keep the confusion down I've been going to the Saturday night service and I have really enjoyed it. Its a bit more intimate than the big Sunday service and I find myself paying attention a bit more closely.
Tonight we had two of my favorite things: a baptism and communion. Both sacraments in one service. It doesn't get much better than that, really. Seeing God's grace in full view, tangible. It was exciting. One of the things I enjoy about worshiping is watching others around me worship, I get much stregnth and pleasure from that. Seeing someone being truly moved gets my light fired up. As I listened to the Baptism liturgy I watched the mother and the father of the little boy being Baptized. The baby's Godparents were holding him over the faunt as Pastor Y poured the water from a silver shell. The baby's parents were a little to the side. Both smiling and the mother kept wiping her eyes and covering her mouth as she cried happily. I don't think I've ever seen that before-- such subtle happiness and faith burning bright like I did tonight.
That subtle display turned my Faith "pilot light" on. In the back of my mind I thought boo-yah, another one for the winning team. And then I thought of the Parable of the lost sheep from Luke 15.
4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Tonight was a good night. Grace was given, received and thanks given.