Last night, I thought I'd reduce my reading pile in the living room and opened up the "Focus on the Family" magazine, which I at least tend to glance through. The articles are short, often inspiring and helpful.
On the first page was an "message" from Terence Rolston about having to trust your children to God, illustrated by Moses' parent's who placed him in the Nile (after tarring the basket, themselves). He writes: "I am sure we can think of times when we faced similar decisions with our own children. It likely wasn't whether to leave them in the Nile, but it could have been to let them walk to school, to see them leave for college or to wed the love of their life. We can do all we can to prepare them, but, eventually, we need to surrender them to God's care."
We were at this point with Stefan. We can second guess all we want about what we might have said and done, what we should have permitted or discouraged. But he insisted he was 18 and he was going out on the Nile and we had no choice but to let the little boat float. I prayed from him lots and earnestly. Surely, God was watching over him. Surely, God has a plan.
On the next page of the Focus on the Family magazine is something that makes my head shake. James Dobson describes his children's dedication services. His own minister father prayed this prayer:
"Now our heavenly Father... we want to remind Thee this morning of the christian heritage of this little child. Her mother and father love, Thee, and Thou dost know that her grandmother and grandfather, both paternal and maternal, have loved and serve thee... Let her know the God of her father and serve Him with a perfect heart and a willing mind."
The point he is trying to make is that we ought to pray continually and fervently for our children's spiritual welfare. Ok, that's good, but based on their parent's faithfulness? And when you could be proclaiming God's promises and faithfulness at Baptism? One could go on.
In our house, the children always sang: "I was baptized, happy day, all my sins were washed away. God looked down on me and smiled. I became his own dear child."
There are children and young people in my life, my nieces and nephews and god children that still need lots of prayer and reminders of God's faithfulness to them. I want to do my faithful duty for them and their families, and I should think about that more even than I did before. (Anastasia, Rachel, Alexandra, Anne, Thomas, Colin, Melissa, Sarah, Simon, Timmy, Alyssa, Miriam.)
For Stefan, what can we pray for Stefan? What can one pray for the dead? We're not Roman Catholic. We don't do Requiem mass hoping to get him out of purgatory sooner (thankfully).
I have an image, which is like a hope and a prayer. It comes from something pastor DeBlock once said in private.-- We were all hanging around in the pastor's office and Andrea was cuddling in my lap. Pastor just said: "Oh, to be so nestled in the shepherd's lap." It was a stretch for me at the time. I'd never thought of being so intimately, physically, sheltered in Christ's lap. But we could tell Pastor DeBlock had.-- For Stefan it is more of a hugging and holding of that tall, thin, wiry, strong frame and tusseling of the blond hair.
I have a condolence card, that pictures this. I'm not usually into religious images. But I like this one. It can be viewed here.
State of Lutheranism
4 hours ago