There was a very special baptism Sunday. Fittingly, it was the day before Fourth of July. The child being baptised was recently adopted from an orphanage in Russia. The elder assisting at the baptism is the adoptive father of yet another child also adopted from Russia, but from an orphanage in a different part of that country. His son will be baptised next week. ( I previously wrote about these pending adoptions here.)
The little boy baptised Sunday is not an infant, but a toddler. He has a bright shock of almost platinum blonde hair and is walking. He is still reacting to this big change in his life: from being institutionalized to being part of a family with an older brother and sister and two parents. Since he is still wary of strangers and afraid of being left by his adoptive mother, she walked him around the congregation after the ceremony--a tradition in our church usually performed by the pastor.
Our church has always marked the Sunday close to the Fourth of July with the singing of patriotic hymns by the choir at our late service. "America the Beautiful" and " The Battle Hymn of the Republic" took on a deeper meaning in the light of the promises that the congregation made to this newest American.
Welcome to the USA, little one. And more importantly, welcome to the church of Jesus Christ.