Matthew 8: 5-13, Centurion
I have more respect for this man than probably any of the other folks we have read about. He is humble, respectful, and willing to use his clout to save the life of someone in terrible distress, and this person is just a servant – not even a relation. The word servant here means a young person who is either a servant or slave, possibly someone who was a survivor of a conquered area during a long military campaign. This a servant might be nothing more than his shield bearer or errand boy but the centurion shows great compassion. Maybe this young person became like family to our centurion while he was being deployed around the Roman empire.
I have been watching an old TV series on Netflix called Army Wives. It is a show about families who live on an army base and experience the difficult issues of deployment, death, PTSD, etc. Even with these issues, they stick together like glue. Instead of letting issues divide them, they form strong inclusive relationships. Do they agree with all the decisions that the army makes or that family members make? No, but that doesn’t change their commitment to each other or to their commitment to their common goal (and yes, I know it is just a TV drama but work with me here).
We need to have that sense of commitment within the church of Jesus Christ when we baptize or confirm a young person into the church. They are truly new recruits or disciples for Christ – it is a contract that is eternally binding for them and for us. When someone enlists, or joins the church, we all agree to care for that person as if they were a member of our own family, because in essence, that is what they become. These youths need our help and support, but mostly they need us to set the example. They need to know that we will care for them the way that the centurion adopted and cared for his servant.
Who in our extended church family needs us to support them in this same way?