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News and Notes from Calvary

In the beginning was the Word

Baptized at the age of one or so in the Episcopal Church, I grew up feeling quite confident that I had a good understanding of Christianity. I knew God was amazing and that God loved me unconditionally. I sang with gusto during worship services. The Nicene Creed fascinated me. I had the Prayers of the People and Eucharistic Prayer memorized and served diligently most Sundays as an acolyte. We had a dedicated youth group with close relationships and fantastic adult mentors to teach our Sunday school classes. Yes, growing up Episcopalian was pretty awesome! I seemed to have this church thing all figured out. 

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  

  • helped me to understand better Jesus and His amazing gift and example;  
  • enabled me to trust and call on God for help; 
  • gave me insight and empathy into the lives and experiences of others; 
  • taught me to be quiet and to listen; blessed me with cherished friendships and a support system that defies description; 
  • challenged me to do more that means more; 
  • opened up my concept of ministry, calling and community; 
  • brought me peace and increased my capacity to love. 
My baptism and my goddaughter’s mark two important chapters in my life. My Episcopal upbringing gave me an incredibly joyful faith foundation, but the addition of Bible Study gave me the true Church and connected me to the Kingdom of God. I hope it will do the same for you!  

“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

Posted by Robyn Maudlin at 9:24 AM
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