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Our Pilgrim Heritage

This past Lord’s Day was a rich one in our congregation.  In the morning we had a baptism of a covenant child, where our featured text was Isaiah 59:21, which reads:

As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from now and forever.”

This particular child had believing parents, grandparents, and even a great-grandmother in attendance, and we know her believing family line extends back beyond them.  In addition, we had our first webcam broadcast at Sycamore, as family members serving the Lord on three separate continents of Africa, Asia, and Australia were able to observe!  Seeing the Lord’s promises spoken long ago fulfilled in Christ and now being made known to us was thrilling.  As this girl’s grandfather, pastor and friend Ed Blackwood, said in his announcement of her birth and baptism:

Felicity, whose name means happiness, is our first grandchild and the first child of Zachary and Flo. Eliora means “my God is light” or “God is my light.” Long ago God made a promise to our father, Abraham, when He said, I will be God to you and to your children. We are blissfully happy at Felicity’s birth and are seeking God’s promises for her. May she know all her life the happiness that comes from God being her light.”

In the message, entitled “Generational Baptisms” (to be distinguished from baptismal regeneration!), we saw how we must recognize and embrace these covenantal promises afresh in our generation and be prepared to hand them faithfully to the coming one.

Then that evening we had a Thanksgiving Psalm Sing service with folks from three of our sister churches and our nearby Marion outreach joining us, with other people visiting as well.  The theme of the service was this post’s title (for those interested you can see our Thanksgiving 2011 Psalm Sing Bulletin).  We reflected on the pilgrims who had come to this land to serve God, sang our first selection from their songbook (Psalm 100 from the 1612 Ainsworth Psalter), then remembered through the service that we are indeed children of Abraham though Jesus Christ and thus on a pilgrimage in this world to our ultimate heavenly destination (Hebrews 11:8-10).  Joy was the atmosphere for the night.  I was especially moved by the offering of  prayers of confession and thanksgiving, ministering with five other pastor friends, the enthusiastic singing to God and to one another, the fellowship afterwards over the ladies’ tasty offerings, and knowing the young people were upstairs even after a lengthy day singing voluntarily even more praises unto God.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples…O seed of Abraham!” (Psalm 105:1, 6a)

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