“Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?” – BCP 303
Does this question sound familiar to you? It should. It is the question that us priests in the Episcopal Church ask of you, the congregation, when we welcome new members into the Body of Christ – the Church – through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. I asked it of you this last Sunday right before Hazel, Dain, and Marian were baptized with the waters and Spirit. And, if I remember correctly, your response was a resounding, “We will!”
In responding “We will,” we affirm our commitment to help, support, lift up, walk with, console, care, and pray for the newly baptized and their families as they move forward in their new journey of faith.
This is the same commitment that Holy Comforter, the Church itself, makes to each and every one of you – to be with you, to help, support, lift up, walk with, console, care, and pray for each and every one of you as you move forward in your own journey of faith.
Throughout these past few weeks, we have heard stories from various parishioners about how Holy Comforter has helped them and their families move forward in their faith – whether it was because their spirit was nourished or uplifted by a particular worship experience, their soul was touched or released by a particular hymn, choir anthem, hand bell, violin, or organ piece, their heart was comforted in a time of grief and sadness, when they felt welcomed as they walked through the door, or when their or their child’s mind was challenged, opened, or surprised by a particular learning experience.
I believe we all have our own, individual and unique stories about how Holy Comforter has helped move us forward in your own journey of faith. Perhaps it was when you helped donate nearly 1,000 pounds of food as part of the Broomfield FISH food drive, or when you participated in the Precious Child Fill-A-Backpack drive – filling 600 backpacks with school supplies for the children of Broomfield and Northern Adams County. Perhaps it was when you volunteered to help set up, provide a meal, or stay the night with our Growing Home families. Was it when you brought your pet to be blessed, or your child to participate in our Trunk or Treat? Or, was it when you had the opportunity earlier this year, to practice the Art of Beauty, and learn to play and express your spirituality through art and play? Was it when you built relationships with other members of Holy Comforter during our annual Retreat (sliding down a snow hill in the middle of August!)? Perhaps it was when you saw your child grow and shine with God’s love and grace through their time in the nursery, God’s Play Place, Godly Play or Youth Group.
Holy Comforter is dedicated to fulfilling this baptismal promise to you. But it cannot do it on its own. It takes you. In responding “We will” to this baptismal promise, we acknowledge that we, each of us, do not walk this journey alone. Rather, we walk it together as a beloved community of faith, with Christ always present in, with, and through us at all times. This is why we have asked you to envision with us as to what the next five years will look like for Holy Comforter, the church, its people, and its community.
This Sunday is Consecration Sunday – a day when we ask you to bring in your pledge card so we can begin turning these visions into reality. If you have not yet already turned it in, we ask that you prayerfully consider pledging to Holy Comforter, and in doing so ask yourself, how can Holy Comforter continue to move forward, fulfilling God’s mission and purpose in the world? How can Holy Comforter continue to help you move forward in your own faith journey? What new stories can be made? What does it mean for us, as a beloved community of faith, when we proclaim, “We will?”
Grace and blessings to you,