Words spoken at the baptism of Cooper Robbie Richardson on 30th December 2016, following the marriage of his parents Katie Hamilton and Blake Richardson.
Today is a joyful occasion, a day for celebration!
It is first a family celebration - a day of joy for you, Blake and Katie, and for your families and friends. You have just been declared man and wife - now you bring your son Cooper to be baptised in the presence of so many who share your joy in him. We all celebrate your new family with you.
For Cooper’s Godparents, it is a day when you promise to encourage Cooper in his life and in his faith. It is a day to celebrate the start of a very special relationship you will have with him as he grows up. My daughter, when she was small, could not understand the word Godmother. When her Godmother came to stay, as she often did, she would sit on the end of my daughter’s bed and they would have long talks together, special talks which my daughter loved. So instead of calling her ‘my Godmother’, my daughter called her ‘my bedsitter’.
May you as Godparents be equally special ‘bed-sitters’ for Cooper!
But today is about more than just a family celebration.
The reading we have just heard tells us how Jesus commissioned the eleven to make disciples of all nations, and to mark it by baptism. They in turn passed on the commission to others, handing on the gift of faith to new generations. And so we, as that part of Christ’s church gathered here today, pass on this gift to a new generation, to Cooper.
We are about to welcome Cooper as a new member of Christ’s Church. Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God, which will last for the rest of his life. We celebrate that today. In a moment we will profess our baptismal faith, and as we do so let us reflect on our own journey, and let us be determined to support Cooper’s parents and Godparents as they guide him on his journey.
Cooper will be baptised “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.
Matthew tells us that Jesus himself used these words. Those of us who are Anglicans share this baptismal formula invoking the Trinity with other Christians, including Roman Catholic, Orthodox and most Reformed traditions. It is a symbol of unity within the diversity of our traditions that we baptise in the same words.
We shouldn’t see the Trinity as a static thing, I think. Rather, God reveals himself in the Trinity in a dynamic cycle of loving relationships. The Father and the Son loving each other; the Son and the Spirit loving each other; and the Spirit and the Father loving each other.
May Cooper grow up to recognise God’s dynamic cycle of love reflected in his own relationships!
According to Matthew, the last words Jesus spoke to his disciples are these: “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus was speaking to the apostles, but he still speaks these words to his disciples today.
What an amazing thing it is, that Jesus Christ, God incarnate, our Lord and Saviour, our friend and brother, travels with us on our journey. Even when we are tired or anxious, lonely or frightened, doubting or lost, Jesus is there with us, to encourage and support us, to love us.
The loving Christ journeys with Cooper, and with every one of us. Let us give thanks for it, and let us celebrate it!