11 January 2012

Name this child

One girl who started attending Junior Church this past autumn has speculated several times that the baby doll under the focal shelf probably represents the Baby Jesus. I neither contradicted nor confirmed this, but usually tried to respond with something like, It could be. 

So when I started reviewing the baptism lesson last week, it struck me that this girl might propose Jesus as a name for the baby. (As the storyteller gets ready to demonstrate what would happen at a baptism, the script calls for us to suddenly interrupt ourselves as if - oh, I almost forgot. What are we going to name this child? And the first suggestion offered is supposed to be accepted immediately.)

But I thought, "There's no way I'm going to feel comfortable saying, Jesus, I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. I was glad that I had thought about this in advance, because yep - when I asked about the name of the baby this girl was in first with, Jesus. 

I replied smoothly, Yes, that's a good name. And in America when somebody is named Jesus we usually pronounce it "Jesús" [pronouncing it like the Spanish name]. She started to object that that sounded more Finnish than like American English (which is somewhat true), but I was already continuing with the lesson. Perhaps it wasn't completely fair, and not completely in the spirit of Berryman's advice to accept the first name proposed, but it was a solution which didn't exactly reject her suggestion and yet kept me happy, too.

Next week, if all goes as planned, the children will hear a story-book version of Jesus's own baptism.

Baptême de Jésus (Tissot) (Brooklyn Museum)


  1. Your response reminds me of John the Baptist's when Jesus asked to be baptized by him. I love the depth of the stories and our responses!

  2. Oh what a lovely remark, Coedith! Thank you.


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