Dearest Jesus, We Are Here (ELW 443)
1 Dearest Jesus, we are here,
gladly your command obeying.
With this child we now draw near
in response to your own saying
that to you it shall be given
as a child and heir of heaven.
2 Your command is clear and plain,
and we would obey it duly:
“You must all be born again,
heart and life renewing truly,
born of water and the Spirit,
and my kingdom thus inherit.”
3 Therefore we have come to you,
in our arms this infant bearing;
truly here your grace we view;
may this child, your mercy sharing,
in your arms be shielded ever,
yours on earth and yours forever.
4 Gracious head, your member own;
shepherd, take your lamb and feed it;
prince of peace, make here your throne;
way of life, to heaven lead it;
precious vine, let nothing sever
from your side this branch forever.
5 Now into your heart we pour
prayers that from our hearts proceeded.
Our petitions heav’nward soar;
may our heart’s desires be heeded!
Write the name we now have given;
write it in the book of heaven!
When one is baptized, they are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever. When our daughter was young and we would say prayers with her when she went to bed, we had a ritual that we would do. We would mark a cross on her forehead and say, “For Jesus’ sake God forgives you all your sins.” And then she would trace a cross on our foreheads and say, “For Jesus’ sake God forgives you all your sins.” Frequently, by the time children go to bed at night, the parent needs forgiveness by the child and the child needs forgiveness from the parent! Occasionally, when our daughter would wipe her hand across her forehead and say she was wiping the cross off, we would tell her that that was impossible. The cross was put there on the day of her baptism and there was nothing that could ever take it away.
Loving God, we give you thanks that on the day of our baptism we were marked as your dearly beloved child now and for all eternity. Amen.