In my late twenties, I was thrilled to be asked to be a godmother. Determined to take my duties seriously, I showed up for the baptismal classes to prepare for this new responsibility. The class began by reviewing The Baptismal Covenant. As the priest led a discussion of the questions and answers we would be called to give on behalf of our godchildren, my heart started to pound a little harder. The first part was easy; do you believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit? Yes! But quickly, I realized this was feeling more complicated. Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship… (wait, what does that mean?) Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? (uh, oh) Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? (Ummm) Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? (Oh, goodness… am I doing all of this?) Book of Common Prayer, p. 304
Although still very much looking forward to becoming a godmother, I was suddenly feeling ill equipped. I had a great start, but I realized God might be even greater than I had imagined thus far, and it was time to start seeing how I could live more fully into my Christian faith. So, I started at the beginning…The Word.
Our priests here at Calvary were very supportive of my little quest. They visited with me about different ways to approach studying the Bible. They helped me organize study groups. We started small but stayed dedicated. It turns out there were others seeking more, too, and the Bible studies grew. We had big questions and invited the Holy Spirit to help us with the answers. We kept it simple and didn’t require homework. We just committed to showing up once a week. I kind of tear up thinking about how this simple approach brought such a magnitude of joy to my life and the lives of others.
Looking back, I realize I started studying the Bible in the same way that I had been approaching my faith. It was a very insular pattern. Church had worked for me thus far, but it was just me and God. This baptism, this invitation, opened up a window in my soul that I didn’t even realize was there or that I needed. It reminded me that not only was there more to God and what God was asking of me, but there was also more to Church.
I will thank God for all my days for the way that Bible Study
“Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon these your servants the forgiveness of sin, and have raised them to the new life of grace. Sustain them, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give them an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage and will to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.” Book of Common Prayer, p. 308
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