Lutherans observe baptism as one of two sacraments (the other being the eucharist), which are understood as rites that have a visible sign, the command of Christ and the promise of God's grace. For Lutherans, baptism is the key event in a Christian's life.
What's a godparent to do?
We weren't trying for overkill. We just wanted to keep the peace. Fifty or so people had adamantly suggested they should be Evan's godparents. Normally, parents choose. But we didn't see how we could. We both grew up attending our congregation, Holy Family Lutheran in Chicago, where my husband now serves as youth director.
So our firstborn has both our families and the entire congregation for godparents.
He'll learn from them all what it means to walk this Christian journey. Everyone from Butch, an ex-con who now studies the Bible fervently, to Isaiah, a second-grader who sits by Evan at every service, has committed to teaching him. How could we not want him to learn from Lucious, a gifted musician, that God celebrates creative self-expression? Or that Janet's sidesplitting jokes and organizational skills mask a deep tenderness and loneliness many Christians share?
More than 100 godparents from every walk of life cheered the day they ushered Evan into God's family. As our pastor carried him down the aisle, introducing him to his new family members, Delores touched him. Viola and Jordan called his name. My family cried for joy. Evan took his fingers out of his mouth to trace a drooly autograph on Isaiah's outstretched hand.
Evan was passed from one member to the next, like a rock star carried on the arms of a crowd.
That's how I learned that baptism is like discovering you're a rock star and related to royalty — specifically, one royal person who makes you related to every other person you encounter on the Christian journey. And that's pretty cool, if you ask me.