This past Sunday churches around the world celebrated Pentecost remembering God's gift of the Holy Spirit to us. Many churches also offered baptism to new believers welcoming them into the family of God. As part of the worship/baptism service at Vineland United Mennonite Church, the following poem by Carol Penner was read.
On the journey with Jesus
there is always the first step;
the first prayer,
the first self-less act,
the first encounter with scripture,
the first true repentance,
the first enemy loved,
the first sin renounced,
the first gift discovered,
the first falling away,
the first return to a God waiting
with open arms.
Baptism is a first.
A first public commitment,
a first joining the church,
a first communion,
a first dedication,
body, mind and soul for Jesus,
who also took first steps
wading into the river to be baptized.
Bless our beginnings,
for we know that simplicity and innocence
are often casualties on the rocky road.
Creator God, make the seed of our first
beginnings grow into a sturdy tree.
Holy Spirit, make the trickle of our first beginnings
join in the rush of your mighty river.
Jesus, train from these humble first beginnings
disciples who will walk with you
on the long road to