Octoburrrrrrrrrrr... is beautiful!

Good day friends, we been blessed with a wonderful and colourful fall. God's canvas is showing signs of the onset of winter where Mother Earth retreats into herself and sleeps. Preparing for a burst of spring once again! Nature reminds us how we should live within our own body. It is through God that we remember to take time and meditate to hear wisdom and guidance.

With Canadian Thanksgiving behind us and our friends to the south awaiting the celebration of Thanksgiving in November we are in a neutral zone. I always like to think of this time as a place where we are between thanks. As Canadians we are immersed in the American culture and so we have the blessing of actually witnessing two opportunities to give thanks.

This Sunday at my church we will celebrate the sacrament of baptism. I was raised in a church where infants were not baptized. Once an adult you would make the choice to become baptized into your faith. In the Presbyterian Church infant baptism is an act of faith bestowed upon a baby. A gift of love from the parents as they publically show they believe we are all God's children. We read in Mark that Jesus was baptized by John (the Baptist) as an adult and "just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit decending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "you are my son, the beloved, with you I am well pleased" (Mark 1:10,11) This always puzzled me. I wondered if Jesus was baptized as an adult where is the change?

With this in mind I have been researching baptism and am finding the meaning of this sacrament to go far beyond my comprehension. Many religions have adult baptism, known as "believer's baptism" and struggle with the baptism of infants. However, John Calvin said the sacraments are "a testimony of God's favour toward us, confirmed by an outward sign, with a mutual testifying of our godliness toward [him] God." St. Augustine said sacraments are "the Word made visible". As Reformers we see the sacraments as seals.* Infant baptism is the gift parents give to their child as a statement of faith that they believe in the presence of God in our lives. This is a day of celebration.

I never understood my own baptism which happened when I was 12 years old until I began understanding other's baptism and preparing for the service I will be a part of at my church this upcoming Sunday. This is the second time I have been blessed with the opportunity to hold, participate and co-lead over baptism and the more I help and witness the deeper I believe.

God blesses us in our lives and baptism is an outward sign of an inner connection with God through the resurrected Christ. Praise be to God!

* Excerpts from This Presbyterian Church of Ours by John Congram


October's beauty ~ Giving Thanks

I look out over the roof of the house next door and I know every flaw in the shingles. I know this because I sit here many hours a day and look upon the same area. It causes me to ponder how I see the rest of the house. I sprint down the stairs and hop in my car, pull out the drive and off I go. The house next door has two very distinctive places in my heart. On the one hand it is a roof with flaws in its shingles and on the other it is the home of my lovely next door neighbour. How do I meld the two?

I was north this weekend to see my family. Twenty two of us gathered around a 30lb turkey and shared in Thanksgiving dinner. It was wonderful to be together with my extended family but even more wonderful was to spend time with my children and my new grandson. I ask myself the same questions, how do I meld the two? My children know me as Mom, their rock and their redeemer. The matriarch of our family nucleus. My siblings know me as the baby of the family who can't seem to content herself. The one who is always searching and the one who it is easy to tsk tsk and shake their head at, "will she ever settle down?" I feel the pull of power on one hand and yet the vulnerability of a child on the other; a little girl once again.

However, today I am back on my game. Studying Greek, preparing for a quiz. Preparing to read a chunk of work and write a 350 page observation for tonight's class and I reviewed the scriptures for this Sunday so I can build a strong message and help others find God through my study. The weekend was exhausting for me. I blame it on the wine but I think it is the stress of being a child/little sister in one place, a mom in the other, and thirdly, my own person. That is hard work and we all face it.

God helps me remember I am a child of the universe, a sister to all those around me and a mother to my children and to the teaching of Jesus Christ. How do I meld them all? With the love and guidance of my God ... Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. Giving Thanks to my God everyday and remembering who is in charge of my heart!