…from Pastor Bill

Dear Pittman Park family,

What a wonderful thing to welcome the life of a newborn child! In worship these past three Sundays we have celebrated infant baptisms and another is planned for May 22nd. The parents of these little ones approach the altar rail to publicly profess their own faith and offer their child for this beautiful sign of God’s grace within their family, within this church and within the world! At every baptism, the congregation pledges to surround these precious children with “steadfast love” in order that they “may be established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal.” It is a huge commitment not only to these children, but also their families. You are familiar with that ancient African proverb… “It takes a village!” We are an important support structure for what God seeks to do in the life of these children.

Pastor Bill holding Ellie Wright, age 1, after her baptism

This Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day. It is a day to remember first how all of us have been nurtured, second to give thanks for our mothers and finally to commit ourselves to be family in the best possible ways. In thinking about these “new arrivals” who have received baptism, I am reminded of a fascinating parable written by Henri Nouwen, one of the most respected pastoral theologians of the 20th century. I share it with you for reflection and meditation…

There were twins talking to each other in the womb. The sister said to the brother, “I believe there is life after birth.” Her brother protested vehemently, “No, no, this is all there is. This is a dark and cozy place, and we have nothing else to do but cling to the cord that feeds us.” The little girl insisted, “There must be something else, a place with light where there is freedom to move.”

After some silence, the sister said, hesitantly, “I have something else to say, and I’m afraid you won’t believe that either, but I think there is a mother.” Her brother became furious. “A mother!” he shouted. “What are you talking about? I have never seen a
mother, and neither have you. Who put that idea in your head? As I told you, this place is all we have. Why do you always want more? This is not such a bad place, after all. We have all we need, so let’s be content.”

The sister was quite overwhelmed by her brother’s response and for a while didn’t dare say anything more. But she couldn’t let go of her thoughts, and since she had only her twin brother to speak to, she finally said, “Don’t you feel these squeezes every once in a while? They’re quite unpleasant and sometimes even painful.” “Yes,” he answered, “what’s special about that?” “Well,” the sister said, “I think that these squeezes are there to get us ready for another place, much more beautiful than this, where we will see our mother face-to-face. Don’t you think that’s exciting?!”

What a powerful story on so many levels! Surely divine love surrounds us all and welcomes us to live face-to-face with God!