Thoughts from Fr. Marshall - All Saints Episcopal Church
Today I baptized Chase Anthony Holmes, the grandson of Joan and Johnathan Barron-Archer. What a sweet baby he is. He played with my hair and took my glasses off and did not cry at all when I poured water on his head.

Of course, I love baptizing babies. I always want to try to make people think about what we are doing. Actually, we are just focusing on what all people do when they decide to bring new life into the world.

In particular, we are initiating or promising to raise the child in a community that understands its life in light of the teachings of Jesus.

It is so hard for followers of Jesus to find agreement about much of what Jesus taught so what are we promising to do?

I can only answer for myself. I look into their little eyes (Chase has wonderful eyes) and I think what I hope for them--which is to say what I wish for and vow to work for in Christian Community. Here are some of those things.

I wish for Chase, that he grow up in a community of people who follow the teachings of Jesus and the life of that historic community of people who have done so and do so as full, loving, respectful and open members of the larger community of human kind; a community that lives its own principles deeply but does not define them over and against other religious or philosophical traditions. I wish for Chase and for all of us a community that is open to insight and correction from all ways of knowing that attempt to shed light on the mystery that is life.

I wish for Chase to be taught moral, ethical behavior based on what it means to love truly and deeply, not in any way based on fear or shame. I wish for him a community that delights in the great variety of human expressions of love and choices that we can make as we order our lives. This community is not politically correct but is deeply respectful of the individual consciousness of mature and autonomous individuals who are attempting to be true to themselves.

I wish for Chase a community with a broad enough anthropology to deeply respect and see as a blessing the varieties of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation and all the rest of the complexity of what it means to be human. I wish for Chase a politics that seeks health and prosperity for the whole of society and that understands that justice and equality of opportunity are necessary for this health and prosperity of the whole.

I wish for Chase an education that is truly global and seeks to stimulate and refine his imagination, not to control or dampen it; an education that will prepare him to make the unique contribution that only he can make as a truly global citizen and that will be rooted and grounded in his heart. I wish for him a life that will fulfill the dreams that he is encouraged to dream from the beginning and that will be acknowledged as the necessary contribution to the whole that only he has been born to make.

I wish for Chase a community that believes in reconciliation and forgiveness. I wish for him a community that never defines its members by their mistakes and that understands that a surplus of passion or a weak or even angry impulse should never be seen as invalidating  the importance of life's purpose but simply as a call and an opportunity to gain new insight, maturity and ultimately wisdom.

I wish for Chase a community that seeks direct experience of the Ground of Being, of the Divine and is focused upon this experience and not on elaborate and exclusive belief systems or doctrinal compilations. I hope for a community that ask integral questions, that seeks to find the wisdom of all perspectives and that reads the whole of human experience as important aspects of a collective and cumulative experience that is pointing us toward our own deepest truth.

I hope Chase's  community will respect the unique and complementary nature of all human traditions, stories, metaphorical expressions, languages and ways of struggling to know and will seek their integral ground, always thinking, both/and instead of either/or. I believe that this is the way to freedom and integration, which I also wish for Chase and for all of us! Amen.

Love and light,
Lewis Marshall

1/2/2011 03:39:04 pm

What beautiful sentiments. Lovely thoughts indeed! Thank you for sharing.

Alicia Holmes
1/4/2011 02:19:16 pm

This was lovely to see Fr. Marshall. Chase Rob and I all felt very blessed to have you baptize Chase.

1/5/2011 02:26:40 am

Hi Lewis,

Thanks so much for including me in the invite. I have always found you words inspiring and refreshing.
Grateful for your friendship.


1/5/2011 03:37:07 pm

Congratulations on the new site! It's great to read your voice :-)


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