Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A Baptism Sermon with Reference to 1 Peter 2 and John 14: for Isla Rose Day

1 Peter 2:2–3 (NIV84) 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Isla Rose is no longer in the newborn category physically. Today is her first birthday. But she will still have that amazing, built-in, single mindedness when it comes to her milk and her food. When she wants it, she wants it now. There is no capacity for “in a moment or two after I’ve finished this” or “let’s all eat together.” Now. God made her that way. He also tuned her cry, and that of all babies, so that it cuts through all other sounds, particularly for their parents, and is almost impossible to ignore. That way they get to grow up. Without it they will not grow up and mature into a lively childhood and a productive adulthood. They have tasted that the milk is good and they want it when they want it.

St Peter is saying, now that we tasted that the Lord is good, we also need to crave the spiritual milk of the apostles’ teaching in the Scriptures and the fellowship of a church family, the breaking of bread in Sunday worship and the prayers, and to want it with a newborn baby’s single-minded determination.

Or have we found other things to feed us? Soothers that dull or replace any wanting to be closer to the Father in Jesus. Things that might taste and feel good at first, but we can suck away and we get nothing except a false sense of comfort which neither feeds us or grows us to salvation. Jesus has something to say about the salvation into which we are to grow up in the gospel this morning.
John 14:1–6 (NIV84) “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Isla Rose is only a year old, but a room, a place, has been prepared for her by Jesus himself in his Father’s house. After what we hope is a long, rich, joyful life, one day, Jesus says, he will come back to take her to be with him where he is. Safe forever in everlasting joy and felicity, as the Prayer Book says.
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
In bringing Isla to be baptised, Jamie and Mandy Day are respectfully disagreeing with St Thomas. They’ve decided they do know the way to the Father through the best way of living life on planet earth. They’ve decided that as far as they are concerned as Isla’s parents, Jesus is
6 …the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Him. Thomas said we don’t know the way. Jesus said, I am. All ways do not lead to heaven. Follow me. Jamie and Mandy. Follow Jesus. Follow Jesus in your marriage, and your parenting of Isla. This is where he is to be found. In his church—broken and imperfect, full of difficult, sinful people—but his body on earth still and only. Show Isla how to do that by your commitment, devotion, faithfulness and your refusal to give up no matter what.

Jesus says I am the truth. Over and over again in John he says, “I tell you the truth.” He does not lie. He is completely trustworthy. Paul writes, truth is in Jesus. He is the truth upon which one can base and build the best life there is. When Jesus was condemned to death, Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” To me that’s like saying “I love you” to someone and having them respond with, “What is love?” It’s a ploy, to avoid commitment. Today you’re making Baptismal vows on Isla’s behalf. Vows are promises—about being truthful. You’re promising to bring Isla up with God’s help, to know Jesus is the truth.

Jesus is the life—the full, abundant, rich and satisfying, even better than they can dream of, ten out of ten Anglican life that Jesus promised in John 10:10 I talked about last week. Your life is to say to Isla, “this is the life!” Live like us as we live like Jesus. There’s no life like it and there will be no life without it.