Setske and Oliver, a Roman Catholic and Lutheran-Catholic couple, discover how to journey together despite their differences and what they wish to give their children.
At first, puzzled
When people ask me how I experience the reality of being part of an interdenominational marriage (my husband is Lutheran, and I am Catholic), I am always at first puzzled: what brings us together is much greater than what separates us and I feel as if I no longer see these differences between us. I also notice how, in everyday life, we “get used” to each other. Our ecumenical commitment before our marriage has probably also opened us up to this difference, with kindness.
What baptism for our eldest?
However, on closer inspection, we realised that more recently our children have helped us come further on this journey. This started in particular with the question of our eldest’s baptism. There were many questions to be answered! Baptism in our respective churches is recognised by the other church. This simplifies things, but it also obliges us to take a stand and find a common solution that satisfies everyone! There was nonetheless a part of me that wanted to « pull the blanket to my side », trying to get what was most familiar to me rather than what was good for our family. We took the time to talk with a brother priest, a Lutheran pastor, and we, together as young parents full of ideals. At one point, the pastor said, “in the end, what really matters is that your children meet Jesus in their lives!” This little sentence set me, at once, completely free! What I want to pass on to my children isn’t so much in which register their baptism is registered but more importantly faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We were finally lucky enough to have our eldest daughter’s baptism celebrated by a Lutheran pastor, with a homely by a Catholic priest and an anointing ceremony, proper to the Catholic liturgy, in an Anglican chapel!
Journeying together despite our differences
Today, as the children grow up, the question of their relationship with God is also slowly becoming more present. Recently, we have been doing a little « covenant prayer » as a family in front of the little prayer corner that I recently set up, where there is a statue of Mary with baby Jesus. I have always had a prayer corner at home in the past, with this statue which I received at my first communion. I gave up this habit after getting married, due to lack of space in our first home and because I was not comfortable with the statue of Mary being a little too visible. Another journey of freedom to experience! In this little prayer space, there are now also candles handmade by our daughters thanks to a small craft activity offered during Advent in the Lutheran church. They suggested themselves to put the candles in this space and for us to gather there in the evening! This may seem insignificant, but it is a real sign for us of this common journey together despite our differences.
I give thanks for the discreet richness that God gives us to live in this reality.