Schaller Family News
"For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body." 1 Cor. 12:13
We attended our first French Catholic infant baptism recently. The baptism was for the son of friends in the playgroup, so we went, as did the rest of the playgroup. There was a pre-baptism party too. What a neat opportunity to talk about what baptism and faith means to each of us. We found some unexpected common ground among our forming group of friends.
Tara got to talk with Estela, an Albanian mom who is relentlessly appreciative that we invited her into the playgroup. “I’ve never been to a baptism before,” she said. “What will they do? Why?” she asked. Estela, who knows we are Christians and discovered last year that Easter has something to do with Jesus, asked lots of questions about the infant baptism process. Tara explained some basics but said, “I’m not sure” a few times. Finally Estela asked, “Don’t you do baptisms in your church?” “Yes, we do, but only with older people who’ve chosen to follow Jesus.” “Oh!” she said, followed with a very genuine, “Why?”
We talked about two viewpoints: baptism as a means to salvation and baptism as a symbol of salvation. It’s the same “what is salvation?” conversation we’ve had many times lately with Celine, Olivier, Marjolaine, and Mauricette. God is repeatedly giving us the privilege of sharing the Good News. We talked for a few minutes about infant baptism, adult baptism, what beliefs motivate each, and what examples we have in scripture. Fortunately, Jesus’s work on the cross is pivotal to both types of baptism. Then Nina, our hostess, came over. We asked her how they had chosen the church and what baptism means to her. As it turns out, it was very hard to find a church that would take them. They wanted to baptize because their families felt it was a good thing to do— it might someday help their son. All of our friends seemed to think that faith is a good thing, but in moderation. We smile a bit at that, and trust that God is at work.
Trent got to talk with Manu (Emanuel), a French dad in the playgroup. He and Manu have had an ongoing conversation about faith for a few months. At the baptism, Manu, who knows his way around a mass, began explaining his understanding of the differences between Catholic and Protestant practices and beliefs. Estela’s husband, Marcel, said “I have never read the Bible, but it can’t be real or reliable.” Manu shared that there is actually very concrete historical evidence for the preservation of the Bible, but Marcel brushed it off. He comes from a country that all but eliminated Christianity during the communist period a few decades ago. Manu turned to Trent and said, “I would like to come to your church some time and see what it is like.” Trent, who had barely spoken a word, just said, “Great, I would be happy to invite you!” So far, he has not been able to come. Please pray that we would continue to have these discussions, and that Trent would know when to speak and when to just watch God at work.
Thank you for your prayers and support!
Love, Trent, Tara, Lydia and Rachel