God’s love is amazing! Last week we got to see just a little of the breadth of it when M-San was baptized into the family of God. She had been coming to our church on and off for about 2 years, but long before that the Almighty chose to set his heart on this unremarkable young lady living in “the most boring city” on a small island in the Pacific Ocean. Like all of us, she was completely opposed to his love and ambivalent about his existence. Throughout her life God has been patiently pursing her through friends and seemingly coincidental experiences until finally he opened her eyes and her hard heart was melted by his kindness. It’s amazing to see how far God’s grace reaches.
The other baptism this week is one that could have gone unnoticed, one I was tempted not to tell you about. You see, the girl that was baptized on Sunday is not Japanese. She’s American. She’s also an infant.
I know that infant baptism may be a contentious subject for some of you, but every time I see one it is a beautiful reminder to me of the undeserving nature of God’s grace, and this one was no exception.
Before the baptism, Riva and I were teaching Sunday School where we read in the Jesus Storybook Bible about Jesus’ about God’s love for children:
“…children loved Jesus, and they knew that they didn’t need to do anything special for Jesus to love them…’No matter how big you grow, never grow up so much that you lose your child’s heart: full of trust in God. Be like these children. They are the most important in my kingdom.'”
And so Jesus sets up children as the archetypal kingdom citizen. They’ve got nothing to offer and nothing to prove. They just receive God’s love. And that’s why this baby just laid there as the water was poured over her. Like the rest of us, she couldn’t do anything but receive God’s love. God delights to welcome this infant into his family based on nothing but her parents’ faith (Genesis 17:7, Acts 2:39), awaiting the day when she’ll embrace the covenant from her own heart. That’s how deep his love goes! Eyes began to fill with tears as our pastor prayed for Japanese kids to no longer have to hear the gospel from a stranger, but to grow up in homes where they hear the gospel everyday. He prayed that our grandchildren and great grandchildren might grow up having never known a day without Jesus. I long for that day as well!
God showed his undeserved kindness when he took our friend born into a Buddhist home on the other side of the world and grafted her into the family of God. He reminded us that his mission is geographical. He also showed his undeserved kindness when he placed this child in a Christian family and made her an heir of his grace. That’s because his mission is generational as well! Thank you for being “on mission” with us as we seek out the young and overlooked all over Asia and attempt to display the heart of God to them.