Thursday, August 23

A Good Life

I went to Atlanta this weekend for my nephew Elliott's baptism.

It was doubly special for us because my sister-in-law, Elaine, is a Methodist minister and she actually baptized him herself. 

So, we knew going into this that there were going to be some tears.

As we were all sitting in Elaine's office before the service, I was reminded of the last few minutes before she married my brother.  While the bridesmaids were praying with her just before the service, she was looking up at the ceiling with her eyes wide open. 

She told us it was so no tears would come out.  She was holding them in for as long as she could.

The tears came at some point while she was walking down the aisle...and they didn't stop.  

Now, I can't say too much about this because you've all seen the ugly-cry proposal pictures.

I could tell that she was trying to hold the tears in again now.  But we all were.

The Senior Pastor of Elaine's church wrote a letter to the congregation about Elliott's baptism last week.

{I always joke that Elliott is the most famous person in Marietta, but after seeing him in action at church on's no joke.  My brother literally could not get into the sanctuary because everybody was rushing to see the baby...}

In his letter, Sam wrote that by witnessing and affirming Elliott's baptism, we are all making a promise to live good lives before him.  

I was thinking about that a lot during the service, living a good life before Elliott, and what an honor that is.

As the Baptism began, Elaine stood by my brother's side, as Elliott's mom.  Then, when it was time, she carried Elliott around to the other side of the altar.

And as she put her hand on Elliott's head and began to say the words that have been said over babies for generations, she closed her eyes and smiled and looked up...just as she did on her wedding day.

"Elliott Brooks, I baptize you in the name of 
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  
And as you grow in years may you also 
grow in the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus."

I thought again of Elaine & Paul's wedding day, and of my upcoming wedding, and of Brian & his relationship with my nephews, and of leading a good life before them, of what it means to be a part of a community of faith.

Elaine held in her tears this time...but with the emotion in her voice and being witness to such a special moment...I don't think anyone else in the church did, {check out Paul's bottom lip in that picture.}

Elliott Brooks is a lucky little guy.  There are hundreds of people in that community who can't wait to see him every week.  And now they've promised to live good lives before him.  Just as I have.

I thought of the people who made that promise to me 26 years ago and about how much I love them.

And I prayed then that in 26 years Elliott will know in his heart that I made this promise, and that I kept it.

Until then, I wish for you grace and peace and a community of faith and love.

And for you, Elliott Brooks, my Brooksie.

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