882) Sermon at My Grandson’s Baptism (a)

     Mitch was a tough guy.  He worked hard and played hard.  He liked his beer and his fast cars, and he liked participating in the tournaments at the local boxing club.  He told his buddies he didn’t have time for steady girlfriends.  Mitch would tease his married friends about always getting told what to do by their wives– when to get home, when to change clothes, not to drink so much, and to quit wasting all that money on stupid cars.  “I don’t need that in my life,” he told them, “I’m happy just the way I am.”

     And then Mitch fell in love– and he fell hard.  His buddies didn’t see him in the bars anymore, he sold his fast cars, and he even started wearing clothes that matched.  “Rachel is so wonderful,” he told his friends, “she’s just precious.”  Wonderful?  Precious?  Mitch never used words like that.  “What’s with you?” they all asked.

     “Ohhh– we’re in love,” he’d say.  “You guys must not know what it is like to really be in love,” he said, “I can’t wait to get done at work and go see her.  We just can’t bear to be apart.”  Mitch would go on and on like that.

     “Just wait,” his friends said to each other, “Give this a few weeks and he’ll get over it.”

     You may have seen that happen to someone.  Maybe it has happened to you.  New love can do that to a person, and it can make it difficult to be around them until they can get past that ‘head-in-the-clouds’ stage.  There can then be deeper, more mature, and better stages that a loving relationship goes through.  But people can make a fool of themselves in those early stages.

     But it is impossible to make a fool of yourself in your enthusiasm and love for a little baby.   You might act just as foolish with a baby as Mitch was acting about Rachel, but no one thinks anything of it– because everyone else is acting the same way.   It is just normal to hold those little ones and talk baby-talk, make faces and funny noises, and insist that they are the cutest and smartest baby ever born and will surely be president someday.  Even when they get a little older, you are more than happy to sing silly songs with them, play ‘ring around the rosie-all fall down,’ and engage in all sorts of other foolishness.  We wouldn’t think of acting like that any other time, but we’ll do it for the little ones.  And no one will say what they said about Mitch, that he was crazy and would certainly get over it.  Everyone is waiting in line to hold the baby and do the same dumb things.  And it’s far easier to put up with a parent or grandparent going on and on about little ones, than it is to put up with a guy like Mitch.

Image result for parents and baby funny images

     That initial enthusiasm also wears off with a baby.  It might take a few months, or it might happen already on the fourth consecutive sleepless night after coming home from the hospital– but reality does set in.  If a parent thought about it, it might even occur to them that in a few years that little cutie might well be slamming doors in anger and smarting off to them and bringing home report cards marked ‘NI’ under classroom behavior (for ‘needs improvement’) .  But who wants to think about that?  Holding a baby is an opportunity to let time stop and just enjoy the moment.  And it is sweet, isn’t it?  Nobody wants to ruin it by saying “You’ll get over it,” like they said to Mitch.  Babies are to be enjoyed and treasured in the here and now as the blessing from God that they truly are.  And they are wonderful, aren’t they?!  And precious and special and delightful; you can just pile on the words, and if it is a baby you are talking about, nobody minds a bit; because they all know, or have known, babies that also fit the description.  All babies do.

     As a baby is to us, we all are to God.  A baby is weak and helpless and dependent on its parents for every need.  Before God, we are weak and helpless and dependent upon him for even the air we breathe and the heart that beats within us.  And above and beyond every parent’s decision to bring a baby into the world, there is God’s decision that a life be created and a soul be given and a baby born.  And just as those who love a baby can go on and on with loving words about that baby, so also God can go on and on in the Bible about His love for those to whom he has given life– for each of us.

     Psalm 139 says that we are ‘wonderfully’ made.  In Isaiah chapter 43, God says, ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name and you are mine.  For I am the Lord, your Savior, and you are precious and honored in my sight.”  And in Psalm 18 it says, “The Lord is my strength and my deliverer… he has saved me because he delights in me.”  Precious, wonderful, honored, delight– it almost sounds like Mitch going on and on about Rachel, or like most people sound when they get around a baby.  (continued…)

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Psalm 139:14  —  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully madeyour works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Isaiah 43:1b, 3a…4a   —  Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine…  For I am the Lord your God…  You are precious and honored in my sight…

Psalm 18:19  —  (The Lord) brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

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