I am a member of a lot of different clubs and organisations and I have the cards to prove it here in my wallet. My AMA membership card means that if I lock my keys in the car or I run out of gas on my way back from Waterton – somebody will come to help me. My Manulife card means that I have health benefits provided by my boss. I do not have to pay so much money for my prescriptions or my visits to the dentist.
I have cards for discounts and points at Chapters, Safeway, and the pet store. I have a library card (as I am sure many of you do) so that I can borrow books and cds and dvds to enjoy. I do not think they would let me leave with a handful of books if I did not have this card. I also have certificates that say I am trained in first aid and fitness instruction.
But the membership that is most important to me – my inclusion in this church – I do not have a wallet card for that. I do not have to show any identification when I come in; I do not gain any points or discounts for singing the loudest or smiling the biggest or volunteering at the most fundraising events.
When I was baptized at a United Church in Ontario, I was given a candle as a symbol of the Christ-light. When each of you was baptized, you were given candles. Today, we will baptize Carter, give him a candle and welcome him to our church family. No strings attached, no membership card required. Welcome, Carter!