Baptisms for all ages occurs regularly four or five times a year: The Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, Easter Vigil, The Feast of Pentecost and The Feast of All Saints. Classes are offered for adults and children to prepare for this Holy Sacrament.
Those interested in Baptism for themselves or their children should contact Rev. Iain Stanford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our next set of Baptism classes are March 4, 11, and 18, 2018. Contact Rev. Iain Stanford at email@example.com for more information!
THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL: THE RADICAL WELCOME OF GOD
by Rev. Iain Stanford
After my last baptizing of a baby into the body of Christ; the day ended with my viewing the film, The Greatest
Showman. If you read the critics, you will learn that the film whitewashes many of the unsavory details of P.T Barnum’s life; but if you read the comments of people, it receives two-thumbs up. One commentator wrote, “This feels like church
preaching.” Dr. Margaret Miles, author of Seeing and Believing, argues that film in our contemporary context plays the role of Greek theater in earlier ages. Through film, we are invited into a consideration of how we are to live.
I must admit I have been listening to the soundtrack since Sunday. Apparently so have many others, as the album hit #1 on the Billboard charts. What is it in this film that touches us? I want to suggest that the film offers one glimpse of
how the promises of inclusion and love operate. It gives a concrete scenario from which to think about baptism.
In baptism, God calls to each one of us: “come one, come all.” Like the individuals called to step out of the shadows and into the ring, we too, are called into the Body of Christ in all our uniqueness. God calls us into love not in spite of our differences, but because of them. We each have a part to play in building the reign of God. But more than individual journeys, we become a family, a community.
In the film, some are brought out of the shadows to claim their place in the world. Others learn to reject the hatred of society and live instead with and for those society rejects; still, others find redemption when they remember that love, not social climbing, is what really matters.
In Christ, we claim our identity first and foremost as disciples. Like Christ, we learn to eat and drink with the poor and the outcast. We are redeemed when we realize that our salvation is intertwined with others. We know God’s love only in as much as we open our hearts to others. God’s love is the alpha and omega. God’s love shapes us to live out a radical welcome to all humanity.
* Margaret Miles, Seeing and Believing, (Beacon Press: Boston, 1996).