I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Every time I officiate the baptism of a child I think of this phrase. Historically the United Church of Christ has practiced infant baptism, however, we honor, recognize and freely use all forms of water baptism for all ages. Baptism is a visible act done by human beings in which God is at work, a witness of God’s grace and seal on the life of the person being baptized. With baptism come promises made by the person being baptized, parents, and the people of the church. The promises are about loving God and following Jesus and helping each other to do that. Water is blessed with prayer, and at the moment of baptism the pastor says words like these, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God and Mother of us all.”

When baptizing infants I often get to hold the baby. It is a holy moment to see in the eyes of a young child the possibilities for the life of this little one.

In the Gospel of Mark the writer says, “The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: ‘Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.’” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them. (Mark 10.13-16 The Message)

Children are important because they are the very ones who remind us how to receive and follow the way of God. They are open, accepting and curious of others and everything around them. They show us how to be flexible, uncluttered with prejudice or judgement, and vulnerable to new understandings. Children take us back to the essence of grace before they learn the binding biases, prejudgments, and bigotries of adulthood. Three of the four Gospels in the New Testament has the story of Jesus welcoming the children.

From the earliest time of the Christian tradition children have been examples of the citizens of God’s realm. Yes, it takes a village, a spiritual community, to raise a child. But it takes a child to remind us what Gods way is all about.

If you want to change your life, welcome the children, they will show you the way of God.



Keith Haithcock, Photo by Jennifer Summer www.jennifersummer.com

From the Corner
is written by the
Rev. Keith M. Haithcock,
Pastor & Teacher of
St. John United Church of Christ
0n the corner of
Fairfield and Ward Aves.,
Bellevue, KY