Open my heart to speak truly your words.
Today we open our hearts and our spiritual circle to four children,
Mary, Elsbeth, Robin and Craig, who have been brought to join the
Christian faith and to attain salvation.
In a few moments Bishop Yu will pour water upon their heads, make the
sign of the cross on their brows in oil and we will welcome them into
In this very simple ceremony, this sacrament of Baptism, their lives
will be changed forever.
They will be marked as Christís own.
They will enter into the company of Godís chosen people.
For while we think that we choose to follow Jesus: in truth, long ago
we were claimed by Him when He came into this world to save us all
The water that is poured over the childís head symbolizes Godís desire
to wash us clean from all that separates us from heaven. In baptism we
come to live in Christ, dying so we may be reborn cleansed of the sin
that divides us from all that is good.
In the act of signing a cross with his thumb upon the forehead, Bishop
Yu is anointing the child with oil, and claiming that child for Christ.
We offer to God our Christian names in Baptism: the names chosen by our
parents: that He may call us to Him by the name we know.
We light Baptismal candles from the Pascal Candle to remind us that
Christ IS the light of the world.
And, as the smoke rises from the candle, it rises to heaven, just as do
our prayers: carried by our guardian and emissary, the Holy Spirit.
The parents and god-parents have come today bringing their children.
But why? . . . because they love them and want only the very best for
them. And truly, the greatest gift they will ever give these children
is the one they give them today: when they make them lifetime, indeed
eternal, members of Godís family.
But the parents and godparents will also make promises today: promises
that will take their entire lifetime to fulfill:
They are promising to nurture these children in faith;
to pray for them
and care for them
and to live their lives in such a way that their children in following
their example will grow in Christ.
And, MOST OF ALL, these families are promising to follow
the great commandment of love that Jesus gave us: the one true test of
how to live our lives as Christians.
Jesus made it simple, because, having lived with us, He knew us.
He knew that when things were complicated, humans look for loopholes.
So He told us ďLove God with all your heart.
And love your neighbour and yourself equally.Ē
And thatís it.
Thatís the test.
Thatís what you need to teach.
Thatís all you need to know.
Love is what it is all about.
God loves you.
Be good to everyone you meet and treat them just as you hope they will
Use your free will to follow that simple commandment.
AND WE, as the community of Christ at St Monicaís, also make OUR
PROMISES this day. We promise to do everything we can do to support
these children in their life in Christ.
That doesnít mean having a Sunday School or Church services on Sunday
morning or having an after-school programme or running a food bank or
serving community lunches.
It means being there to confront their fears and share their sorrows; to
celebrate their joys and triumphs.
It means that we too must follow Jesusí Commandment. We must be for
these children what we would hope they would be for us. And, that is
what we promise.
Remember Jesusí instruction to His disciples: ďSuffer the little
children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom
of heaven.Ē Today the keys to that kingdom, are given to Mary, Elsbeth,
Robin and Craig.
For, like Jesus, in baptism we all become children of God.
We become sisters and brothers of Jesus.
We become members of the family of faith.
And so we welcome Mary, Elsbeth, Robin and Craig into this eternal
circle of love. A circle that expands as, through baptism, each
individual comes to join in the dance of eternal life.