looking through the lens of covenant…

Rebekah and some of the 11:15 crowd at WFPC

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me.. – Philippians 1:3-7

THE STORY: Sometimes I take a photograph to capture beauty. Sometimes I look through the lens and frame a story. These pictures from Sunday morning are all story, and story is my favorite way to see the world.

My perspective at the 11:15 service was different this week because it was my turn to assist Rebekah and John as “liturgist.” This means that I led some prayers, the passing of the peace, and the responsive readings. In consequence, I sat facing the congregation and enjoyed a different view.

IMG_4173Last Monday I featured a couple of photographs from 9:00 worship in the CLC, and I’ll include a couple of those in the “gallery” below. I’m always startled at how completely different – yet at the same time both completely right – the two experiences are.

BAPTISM: Yesterday a young couple presented their two sons for baptism, a baby and a very vocal two-year-old! Usually, if I take a picture you can see the kids, but looking from the back they are mostly screened by their parents, and the preachers, and the story presents as a different tableau.

You can see dad holding a very determined, squirmy two-year-old, while the baby rests in mom’s arms. “Whatever happens,” this image clearly says, “your parents and your church family are surrounding you, hemming you in with love and with guidance and with the living presence of God!”

IMG_4170The children were baptized not just with symbolic water, but into living covenant. That’s why the questions Rebekah asks the parents, and the promises they make, are just as much a part of covenant baptism as the huge splash of water. And that’s why the questions elder Bill Stevens asked the congregation, and the affirmative responses we all made so enthusiastically, are equally important.

LENS OF COVENANT: From my vantage point behind the communion table, I could also see the faces of all those good people, representing the Wake Forest Presbyterian corner of the Body of Christ.

And what you see, when you look at the Body of Christ through the lens of covenant, is love, grace, commitment, promise, faithfulness, peace, assurance, encouragement, hope, and joy.

You don’t see any of the negative, judgmental, hypocritical, condemning, hurtful, self-defeating division that marks so much of the Christian Church today.

IMG_4157I think this is an important observation. You see, we all have the potential to lose focus and become lost, ornery, or negative; but when our motivation and our practice is Jesus, when it’s no longer about us but about Jesus, when we look at our world and each other through the lens of covenant, when our mission is the business of the practice of love… then that is a different story.

We – here at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church – are committed to living that different story.







One comment

  1. Reblogged this on Pilgrim in Progress and commented:

    With not time to prepare a new post for this morning, I took a quick dive into the archives. I searched using the word “baptism” because of the many youth who joined WFPC church this past Sunday.
    In this post – from the fall of 2015 – the word “Covenant” is prominent too. I love the way baptism illustrates covenant. And I love the way my church is a living example of what it means to be a covenant community.
    I pray that this post encourages and inspires you, reminding us of how important it is to live in community, and to love with the love of Jesus.
    Peace – very day – DEREK


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s