Part of my rescue included learning the meaning of the words shared within the Heidelberg Catechism. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this piece of literature, it serves as a confession of faith for those who believe in the work of Christ within many churches but in my case, I first saw it within the reformed church.
Yesterday, as I heard of the passing of a man who had taught me of its goodness, I was reminded of the first question and answer found within its pages. These words have been of great assurance to me in many seasons of my life, but I will never forget the first time I heard them, sitting in a little classroom at Sonlight Church with Pastor Koemen preparing me and others for a public confession of faith. I will never forget the enthusiasm he had for the gospel and the truth found within the word of God, or how he so longed for each us to believe just how loved we were. I will never forget how he described the act of baptism or the realities of heaven. It was that same year that he would ask me if I wanted to be baptized and that same year that I would begin to understand the assurance that I had been given in Jesus.
But there were many other things I thought of and remembered yesterday as I thought of Pastor Koeman’s life and how it shaped my own. I thought of themes of welcome, of care and of belonging. From the moment I entered the doors of that building he learned my name, my school, what I was interested in and where I came from. Even though my parents didn’t attend church with me, he knew their names, what they did for work and how to get a hold of them. The morning I made profession of faith, I was also baptized and sitting among those who watched were my parents, because Pastor Koeman had invited them. He knew it was important to me and I believe it was seen as opportunity for him. I will never forget that.
I thought much about legacy in ministry yesterday. I too now find myself employed by a church and count myself as a servant of God to many. I often think of how Pastor Koeman welcomed me perhaps an unlikely recipient of his welcome by worldly standards, but he made sure I knew that I was the most likely recipients of God’s grace by God’s standards. He was humble and kind and aware of those he had been given watch over and I never saw him make it about anyone or anything other than the one who truly watches over us; our Father in Heaven. I pray that God would humble me in a way in which my own calling could be administered the same.
To the man who baptized me, married me to my husband, baptized my babies and showed me great welcome, thank you! I celebrate a life that made an impact on my own and through which I pray will make an impact on many others.
I cannot help but think and hope that the words found in question one were close to you in the last days. And I pray that I will keep them well and close to me.
Lord's Day 1
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own,1 but belong—body and soul, in life and in death2—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.3
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,4 and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.5 He also watches over me in such a way6 that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven;7 in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.8
Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life9 and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.10