Collect of the Week
O Lord, Father of all mercy and God of all comfort, You always go before and follow after us. Grant that we may rejoice in Your gracious presence and continually be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
In the name of + Jesus.
On Saturday, Jamie and I attended the funeral of little Thomas Hatcher, the three-year-old son of Pastor Josh Hatcher, and his wife Melissa. It was a sad day, a heart-wrenching day. No words of consolation will change that. But thanks be to God, it wasn’t a hopeless day—not at all. In Christ, through the blur of tear-filled-eyes, there was great hope.
You see, Thomas was adopted. He was born in South-Korea, and was adopted by the Hatchers as one of their own. Thomas was not born a Hatcher, but was adopted as a Hatcher. And it was as a Hatcher that Thomas would receive the gift of a family, and so much more!
You see, Thomas was not just adopted by the Hatchers, but He was adopted by the Hatchers, so that He would receive the adoption from God as a son of God. The Hatchers knew that the most important gift they could give to Thomas was the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. And while three years of life is far too short, those three years were given to Thomas so that He might receive an eternal life—the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit in Holy Baptism.
There is something here for all of us to remember. None of our children are really our own. Biological or adopted, they are all given to us From Above, as gifts to be cherished. And when the LORD gives children to Christian parents, He blesses them with parents who will know to give their children that greater, eternal adoption, which comes through faith in Christ.
In a remarkable story, the Pastor (Rev. Chuck Neugebauer) who preached the sermon at that funeral shared with us that we was mugged on the way to the hospital to visit the Hatchers. The would-be mugger came up to him, and demanded that he give him his wallet, and everything else he had. Pastor Neugebauer, knowing that the Hatchers were in need of the compassionate promises of Christ, was also filled with adrenaline, and somehow say to that would-be mugger, “I have more important things to do than get mugged right now.” And that would-be mugger ran away.
He shared that story in the funeral as a word of encouragement. When a little boy like Thomas dies, Satan, and sin, and death try to rob us of our faith and trust in the promises of Christ. But Thomas was baptized. He was given the gift of the Holy Spirit. He was marked as one redeemed by Christ the crucified. By God’s grace, he had been adopted as a Son of God, and is an heir of salvation. And all of those promises will send Satan and his would-be team of muggers running back to hell, for Jesus’ promises grant comfort and strength of faith, even when our eyes are filled with tears.
Christ is risen, and Thomas was baptized. Thanks be to God! In the name of + Jesus. Amen.
O Lord, comfort all who mourn with the promises of forgiveness, life, and salvation in Christ. Lead all Christian parents to give their children the gift of salvation through Holy Baptism, and to feed that faith through a life filled with the Word of God; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.