Monday, March 26, 2012

Daughter of “White Jesus” Baptized

This post is for our Nigerian Faith Alive family who met Chris Harper, aka “White Jesus,” when he visited Jos with me in 2008. Chris and his wife Anna thank God for Emmaline, their beautiful, healthy baby girl. Pastor Cindy Frost (who visited Faith Alive with me in 2009) baptized Emmaline yesterday at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Collins, Colorado.

I’ve never attended a Nigerian child’s baptism, but imagine that it, like Emmaline’s, consists of the parents’ covenant to raise their child to love Jesus and a church’s vow to help. In the name of the whole church of Christ (including Nigeria), our congregation committed to “undertake with these parents the Christian nurture of Emmaline, so that in due time she may confess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,” and by our “example and fellowship, to strengthen her family ties with the household of God.”

The prayer for children's baptisms is one of my favorites and usually brings tears to my eyes. I know it’s long for a blog post, but it’s worth the time.

“Gracious Heavenly Father, from whom all children are a precious gift. Today we confess anew that we are but stewards of the lives You entrust to us. For we know that when we give our children unto You, we are able to keep them forever. When we deliver them into Your bondage, we know it is the perfect freedom. And when we bid them to love You first and best, they love us and others all the more. We pray for this child. Give her enough tears to make her tender, enough hurts to make her compassionate, enough of failure to keep her hands clenched tightly in Yours, and enough of success to make her sure that she walks with You. Give her a real concern for the needs of others, and help her to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, who was baptized Your Son and servant and who is our risen Lord.

“We pray for these parents. Grant that their lives might be the window through which this child shall better see and understand You to be her heavenly Father. Help them to teach her to love all that is true and noble, just and pure, lovable and gracious, excellent and admirable, molding her young life into the likeness of Jesus Christ. May they love with Your love, teach Your truth, and share the gospel with this child, that Your Word may be heard, and Your will be done, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“Holy God, remind us of the promises given in our own baptism, and renew our trust in you. Make us strong to obey your will, and to serve you with joy, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

(Check out Chris's expression in the top photo. He's looking at Emmaline the way I think God smiles at us, his children--even if we are about to do something as silly as Emmaline and take off our pretty pink headbands.)

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