I wonder how many batons we have given away over the years...batons with the inscription: "I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation." (Romans 1:16) Whatever the number, I have this library of memories about families who have stood before our church and declared their intentions. What intentions? To do everything in their power to pass the baton of faith to their children. To be sure, not every family has stayed on the trail they planned to walk. That journey is filled with unforeseen pitfalls and slippery slopes.
A few years ago I was fishing on a small river in the Rocky Mountains. At one point, the best route to get to a certain point on the river was up the side of a mountain where we took a game trail high above the water. My brother and I were walking along nonchalantly when my feet almost slipped out from under me. The loose pebbles and the steep mountain slope almost took me down. Literally. When I got my footing, I looked where I would have fallen and realized I might not have survived. I tell that story, because raising a family is like that journey. It can be beautiful and exhilarating, but the trail is fraught with danger.
Should the fact that some faith batons get dropped before they are passed on to a new generation make us give up the practice? Not at all! The sadness we feel when we observe people fall from the trail is mixed with the joy of seeing those who somehow keep hiking. We all slip and stumble sometimes. None of us is without perilous moments, but God's love never ends. He is always there to help us back up if we cry out to Him.
My memory library contains hundreds of baton stories over the years. One of my favorite was just a couple years ago when four generations of a family gathered around, dedicating themselves to raise a precious little girl to grab that faith baton for herself. That's when the little one's grandmother reminded me that long ago we had dedicated her sons -- including the baby's dad. Here we were, starting over with a new generation.
Mother's Day Weekend is one of my favorite times of the year at Stone Ridge. We will do parent/child dedications in all services. Bring a friend and soak up the joy!