Eight years ago today I was given a great birthday gift. While she was born a day ahead of my birthday – It was for me a great gift! Born to our friends and parishioners Scott and Rae Anne Shields was Alanah Lori Shields. She was so beautiful then and she is more beautiful now. Catherinanne and I became God Parents to Alanah and have been happy to have her in our lives. She is a precious gift of God and today we were thrilled to celebrate her birthday.  I cannot believe that she is already eight.  

This has been a hard week, and today was good relief from the sadness and violence that we have been seeing on TV and reading in papers. Being hugged by a little girl who is happy to be celebrating all that is good, is all that is necessary for a person to be reminded of the goodness that God has granted in giving us each other.  In baptism Alanah was given the promise of God’s presence for ever. We promised that we would help her to seek and serve Christ in all Persons loving her neighbor as herself. The promise was that we would try our level best to help her strive to respect all human beings and to strive to make her aware of what it means to bring dignity to all of God’s children. We are convinced that she is taking that challenge well. While I would like to think that we have a small role in that I would have to say that it is mostly due to that fact that she is being raised in a Christian home and is daily given examples of the good news of God in Christ. 

This gives me pause to reflect on what the world might look like if more people were given the same opportunity and the same examples. The sadness at this week’s events, and the reminders that this week marks anniversaries for Columbine, Waco, and Oklahoma as well as Tabor, Alberta , call us to a place of reflection. The Baptismal covenant is a strong commitment to seek to bring love and hope to all people. It is a commitment to be more and to love more.  I thank God each day for the people in my life. We have several Godchildren and each of them is a reflection of God’s Love. Today we had good time with a little girl that is living well her baptismal promises. God has given me a great gift.

We are still basking in the Son-Light of the Resurrection. This week it is easy to forget that when we have been inundated with images of darkness and violence. But we are in the very Glow of God’s Light as we continue to reaffirm the promise of God’s Triumph of death and darkness.  Lyndon B Johnson said that "Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time."  We cannot change what happened in Virginia this week. We cannot take away the pain and loss and the shock of all of it. Yet we can begin our journey to peace with one step at a time. For me and for Catherinanne one of those single steps is seeking to be good Models as God Parents to God Children. Today we had the opportunity to be reminded of making peace one step at a time.

Thank You Alanah for being such a good and loving God Child. Happy Birthday. It is over now but I sure hope you had a great day! I encourage all of you to take time to do what you can to be Love in your circle of influence. I encourage us all to make peace by working on one child at a time, one conflict at a time, one person at a time. What can I do tomorrow to be more peaceful? I know that I got all the encouragement I needed in being hugged tightly by one excited little girl.