I love walking into the home of a friend or family member and receiving the welcoming embrace of a hug accompanied by the words “make yourself at home!” A warm welcome is a powerful sign of acceptance, security, and rest. It leads us into fellowship and communion. Oh, how our world could use a warm welcome right now!
September 14 will mark the beginning of my eighth year as senior pastor of Homewood CPC. The warm welcome my family and I received those eight short years ago still resounds in my heart and mind. It is that welcome that created for me and my family the foundation for ministry at HCPC.
Easter of this year, Sherrad and I decided to move the baptismal font to the back of the sanctuary to welcome each person as they entered in for worship. As worshippers entered, they were encouraged to touch the water and make the sign of the cross upon their foreheads in order to remember their baptism. It’s place at the back of the sanctuary also served as a reminder that we had all passed through the waters of baptism into the family of God’s people from all times and places. You see, the baptismal font is like that warm welcome we receive when we enter a friend or family member’s home. In our baptism, we are claimed by God. We are welcomed into his family. We receive from him the assurance of his faithfulness. God welcomes us in and invites us to make ourselves at home within his fellowship with our brothers and sisters.
When we see the baptismal font, let us not just see something that is used only during times of baptism, but as a constant reminder of our welcoming and hospitable God who has claimed us in baptism. May we be reminded of the longing within our souls that pleads to be set free from a world of chaos in order to reside in the eternal presence of God. May we remember the words of Hughes Oliphant Old who said that baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit hopes that all people will be received into the household of faith, joined to Christ in his death and resurrection, and be filled with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen.