I am going to jump off the series of posts about God’s grace for a quick aside.
It amazes me how God can have agape love for us humans. He puts no conditions on his love and he loves each and every one of us. Knowing that God’s love for me is not dependent on me is reassuring indeed. It also amazes me how we Christians seem to put so many conditions on accepting that love!
I was recently vegging out for a few minutes with TV and came across a series that documents a Hutterite community. I didn’t get much info about it so I went to Wikipedia to try to learn a little more. Hutterites are Anabaptist in nature. They are similar to the Amish and Mennonites in that regard. It was obvious from the TV show that the male is the dominant figure in the family; women are very secondary to them but I’m getting off topic here.
The scene I watched was of a young, probably twenty-something, girl trying to get permission from her mother to go to an out-of-town wedding. The mother went on and on about how she didn’t like that idea as the girl might do something to jeopardize her upcoming baptism. She wanted reassurances that the daughter would not do anything “crazy” while she was gone. She just didn’t seem to trust her daughter when she said she would “behave”. Eventually mom gave in and off the daughter went. That is all I saw so I don’t really know if the daughter “behaved” or not.
It seems strange to me to put some conditions on being baptized and given my Catholic roots it is also strange that a twenty year old is still unbaptized. I am not trying to judge the folks on the TV show or even the Hutterites in general. Generally I am more aligned with Anabaptists than most other versions of church. They, unlike many other churches try to live out their faith in very discrete ways.
To illustrate another story about conditions that are placed on God’s grace by the church we need only go to the first stories out about the new Pope Francis. It is said that he chastised priests under him for refusing to baptize children born out of wedlock brought to them. Thank heavens (literally) that a future pope set the priests straight in this instance.
The point of this discussion is more about us putting conditions on getting God’s love when he puts none on giving it. To me baptism is one of the most fundamental ways of accepting God’s love. To say that you have to earn God’s grace by behaving in a certain manner seems strange to me, especially when it comes to baptism.