Sunday 27 April 2014

Baptism of Daphne Jane Eve Clarke, 13th April 2014, Killodiernan

Address given at the baptism of Daphne Jane Eve Clarke at Killodiernan on Sunday 13th April 2014, Easter 6 - Palm Sunday.

Today is a joyful occasion, a day for celebration, a day of baptism!
For many of us it is a family celebration. Particularly so for Peter and Natasha, as with their daughter Hollie they bring their baby daughter Eve to be christened in the presence of so many of their relatives and friends, who share their joy in her.

For Eve’s Godparents, for Janet McCarthy, Brenda O’Laughlin and Adrian Gordon it is a day when they promise to encourage Eve in her life and in her faith. It is a day to celebrate the start of a very special relationship they will have with her as she grows up. My daughter, when she was small, didn’t understand what a Godmother was. She called her Godmother ‘my bed-sitter’, because when she came to stay her Godmother would sit on the end of her bed and have long talks with her. My daughter loved those special talks. May you as Godparents be equally special ‘bed-sitters’ for Eve!

It is surely right for families to celebrate as families. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself was reared in a human family, and he took part in family celebrations such as the wedding in Cana of Galilee.

But today is about much more than just a family celebration.
St Matthew’s Gospel tells us how Jesus after his resurrection commissioned the apostles 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, as Jesus’s disciples, pass on this gift to a new generation, to Eve.

We are here to welcome Eve as a new member of Christ’s Church.  Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God, which will last for the rest of her life. Whether we are family or not, we celebrate that today. And as we renew our baptismal vows in a few moments, let us reflect on our own journey, and let us be determined to support Eve’s parents and Godparents as they guide her on her journey.

Eve 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 with most other Christians, including the Roman Catholic, the Orthodox and most Reformed Churches. It is a symbol of unity within the diversity of our denominations that we all baptise in the same words.

We shouldn’t see the Trinity as a static thing, I think. Rather, God reveals himself in the Trinity as 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 Eve grow up to recognise God’s dynamic cycle of love reflected in her 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, our Lord and Saviour, our friend and brother, is travelling 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 Eve, and with every one of us. Let us give thanks for it, and let us celebrate it!

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