Two of my loftiest ministerial goals involve the Creed: I want to help people find it interesting and, instead of saying it, I would love to help them pray it. Recently, I may have seen the seeds of the former taking root.
I was aiding at Baptismal Prep class for young parents about to have their first child baptized. Given my minimal experience of raising children in the faith, I was pretty daunted by the task. As the night progressed, however, I found myself more and more invigorated. Many of them seemed quite engaged: they were there because they had to be, but having come, they were genuinely interested and invested in the hows and wherefores of their child’s upcoming baptism.
When it came to talk about the Profession of Faith, I was given incredible pause. I knew going into that I would mention martyrs at some point — that’s about an interesting a connection as one can make to what is, for all intents and purposes, a monotonously and unconvincingly said set of faith claims. So I found myself talking about the bravery of the heroes of faith, hoping that abridged hagiographies might rouse the bravery of faith in these young parents.
That’s when it hit me. Bravery was not a thing they lacked. These were YOUNG PARENTS – PEOPLE MY AGE – couples whose love for and confidence in one another made them think bringing a child into the world was a good idea. I was too blown away to speak.
After I refocused myself we began talking about the great bravery of parenthood, what it means to love something so much you would die for it, or in a single word – we talked about witness – martyrdom!
Their eyes told me I was no longer just saying interesting or curious things. We were now talking about life, about their lives (and hopefully mine one day!). The life of witness, it seems, is not just the project of the hero, but the special responsibility of each and every Christian, parents in particular.
At the end of the night, I could not say whether those parents left with a renewed interest in the Creed. With so many concerns before them, they may have forgotten the conversation about creeds, martyrs, and parents. But I didn’t. And it’s made my profession of faith a whole lot more interesting.