I took my daughter to the Farmer’s Market this weekend. We arrived early; before the suffocating summer crowds could gather, before the heat of the day would beat down on the hard pavement. We weaved through the stalls, tasting breads and jams and marveling at the vibrant colors of the many June vegetables.
I’ve told many about what a terror my three-year-old has been lately. Fortunately, something about summer has brought a change. I had commented to my husband a night earlier that she seems to have mellowed in the last week or two. It is actually pleasant to spend time with her! I do not feel as if every waking moment with my daughter is a battle!
There is a small coffee shop near our Farmer’s Market. It is actually more than a coffee shop. It is a coffee shop, urban bookstore, house of worship and center for community and spirituality. We do not visit often – usually just to let the kids use the bathroom and get a quick boost of caffeine. But if I had the opportunity, I could spend the entire morning here drinking coffee and perusing books on faith, prayer, God and more.
My daughter and I stopped in. We used the bathroom, I bought a coffee, and took 5 minutes to browse before I knew my daughter’s ability to be patient and sit still would begin to fade. I led her towards the door. As I fumbled with my coffee and the stroller, my daughter wandered a few steps away. I watched from the corner of my eye, unsure of exactly what she was doing but certain she couldn’t destroy anything.
I finally stood tall and turned to really see what she was up to. Near the door was a brightly colored font filled with water. My daughter had dipped the tips of her finger in the water and was making the sign of the cross on her forehead. Over and over again; dip and cross, dip and cross. The cool water fell in small droplets on the floor in front of her.
I stared in silence and my heart warmed. I said a silent prayer of thanksgiving for the blessing that she is in my life, for the love we share as mother and daughter, for the role that faith plays in our family’s lives, for a God who brings joy and peace and hope. She turned and smiled – and I had to break my trance and capture the moment with my phone.
We gathered our things and stepped outside, all weight from my mind and heart lifted. I asked her – Did you make a cross? “Yes.” Why did you make a cross? “For Jesus.” Nothing more. For there is nothing more that needs to be said. In our baptism we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever. We are called to proclaim the praise of God and bear his redeeming Word to all the world. (That’s 2 weeks in a row I can quote from the old, green Lutheran hymnal!) My sweet, innocent three-year-old reminded me that in any circumstance – joy or sorrow, conflict or community – we have been marked and claimed by Christ. This is where all hope lies!
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1: 21-22