Reflections on Faith and Community
In this blog, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.
Andrew S. Odom
“When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’” (Matthew 21:10)
We celebrated Palm Sunday this week, the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem to the shouts of the crowd and the waving of palm branches. Yet, even in the way Matthew describes the scene, we get a glimmer of the confusion and ambivalence of the crowd. “When he entered,” Matthew says, “the city was in turmoil.” It points to what we know comes next as Jesus turns toward the cross, making Palm Sunday one with a powerful juxtaposition of triumph and tragedy.
When two opposing elements are placed close together, it can be spiritually profound and poignant, and life is full of them. Canyon Creek had one on Sunday. During our later service, we had a baptism for a family that has been through a lot. The child we baptized was the second for this couple. The first never made it out of the hospital, born with numerous complications. When they had learned that their baby would not survive, they asked me to baptize her as well. We began at church that Sunday and proceeded to the NICU. During the baby’s final breaths and with tear filled eyes, I carefully placed water on her head and said the words, “You are a child of God.”
Now, this Palm Sunday, we were baptizing her younger sister. She was born healthy and happy, a miracle for the couple. We gathered in the sanctuary with everyone present. There were smiles and tears and joy and sorrow as we held the memories of a death and caressed the beauty of this life. I carefully took her in my arms, this little baby brimming with life, and I told her about her older sister who didn’t make it. “She was a gift,” I said, “and so are you.” Then, we looked in the font together. I took the water, placed it on her head and said the words, “You are a child of God.” Life and death and new life right there in one place. When placed close together, it is a powerful juxtaposition, and God is right there with us to hold us up.
Published on 03/21/2016 @ 10:29 PM CDT