Monday, November 02, 2009
There are sixteen families living in this City Council concrete block: four apartments across and four levels up. Graffiti, children underfoot, dogs, minibus taxis with loud hip-hop music, and young men sitting on the pavement.
She lives on the ground floor, corner apartment. Warily eyeing the dog of nondescript origin, I carefully open the property’s gate and walk down the short cement block pathway. She is sitting in a worn chair at the door, managing three toddlers who busily clamber around her furniture. They are her grandchildren. She cares for them, assisted by state welfare grants. Her youngest daughter finished school two years ago and has yet to find a job. She is not a mother, and helps to care for the three toddlers. Her sisters live elsewhere and struggle with their addictions.
I am here to talk about the youngest addition to the family. His mother is addicted to “tik” (Methamphetamine, also known as “speed” or “crystal meth”) and her only interest in life is satisfying her craving. She used to live with her mother, but exasperated with the constant theft of her possessions, granny kicked her daughter out, but kept the grandchild. And now wants to “do the right thing” for her grandchild: she wants him baptised.
And I will do this – because baptism is not a reward for good behaviour, or a way of getting people into heaven, or a way of showing that someone has been especially righteous. Baptism is a sign of the Grace of God: a grace that says to a struggling grandmother that she is not alone. God is with her as she raises this child.
This coming Sunday the welcome of God’s community will freely embrace her and her grandchild. We will sing songs, and pray for her, and assure her of the love of God. Perhaps you can pause on Sunday and pray for her too.