Welcome to the Cathedral Church of Saints Peter & Paul, Clifton.
 

Sunday 13th January 2019
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Year C
Isaiah 40: 1-5, 9-11     Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7     Luke 3: 15-16, 21-22

Sign to the World.

Because we tend to baptise babies rather than adults, we often view baptism as a cosy and cute activity, guaranteed to heighten the ‘ooh’ factor. It seems something nice, something traditional, something quintessentially harmless. Even people with no faith enjoy baptisms. After all, they’re rites of passage.

In fact though, what takes place at a baptism is of momentous importance. It is the sacrament which the Church celebrates when one of its members-to-be dedicates their whole life to God in Jesus Christ. It is such a radical step to take that we say it is like being born again. We publicly proclaim that we want to be filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, turn away from all that is degrading and sinful, live as a child of God, and be part of the family of Christians who are united as brothers and sisters through the same baptism.

Far from being a private thing, it is a sign to the world. It is not a step to take lightly; that’s why adults undergo a period of preparation for baptism. For when we are baptised we agree to be priests, prophets and kings. In other words we agree to offer every minute of our day as a sacrifice to God, be spokespeople for what God intends for our world, and exercise care and responsibility for the world in which we live. Faith is a full-time activity.

So baptism is a day-by-day sacrament. Just as a marriage can grow cold if it is not given the proper attention, so too a baptism can start to go dead if we do not exercise it enough. The promises we made, or which our parents and godparents made on our behalf, are to be renewed and revived each day. Baptism is our commitment to working for the Gospel of Christ, and this is something we do at home, in church, in the workplace… wherever we happen to be. It’s about keeping the flame of faith alive in our own lives and showing that light to those we meet.

 

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Scripture Reflections (below) © Peter J Harrison 2019