Moulding our children’s future – Baptism and Brexit clay ~ Trinity 12
Rough notes for the sermon:
Pottery - anyone any good at it?
Example of good/bad. I was no good.
The Xian dichotomy:
We believe we are created and loved by God
We believe that we have free will to make our way in the world.
With a baby this is presented to use in real form.
Karter has been born with free will, but his parents and the community have the responsibility, the delight and the privilege of helping him develop and grow.
Karter is like clay - he needs to be formed
But you can’t do it alone.
He is a creature of God, and as such we ask God to guide us and him in the days, months and years ahead.
Remember how do you make clay?
Clay needs water.
And we need water too - we use it for baptising Karter.
And the holy water we use, is cleansing and protecting.
We are not perfect - and the clay of which we are made becomes tainted, dirty.
We call this sin, and we can’t avoid it.
So in baptism we ask God for protection for Karter, and we use the water to symbolise the washing away of dirt, and to give Karter a fresh start - as clean clay - and then we welcome him into the Christian Faith and ask God to form him as a Christian.
And what is a Christian?
A Christian is someone who is a follower of Jesus Christ, who believes that there is always hope for the world, hope for communities and hope for us all, in this world and the next.
The difference between the OT understanding of God and the NT understanding of God is revealed inner first two readings.
Jeremiah encounters a God who destroys that which is imperfect - reworks the clay.
What chances would you or I stand?
We are not perfect - we would be screwed up and reworked - daily.
But then look at what St Paul says - the whole letter is an appeal to his friend to look after his slave who has become a friend.
Paul was in prison at the time, and was soon to be beheaded for his faith in Jesus.
He is saying - look - Onesimus is not perfect - none of us are - but God has worked in and with him.
He may be imperfect, but he is useful to the Lord.
In our imperfect world, these are encouraging words.
And they remind us that because of Christ’s smoothing out of our imperfections by his own sacrifice on the Cross, we are saved, can be useful, and have hope of resurrection life.
And with this salvation, and this hope come Christian values, many of which we have lost sight of:
Truth, honesty, justice, integrity, hope, love, decency, respect.
And care for the future.
The future of our children - Karter’s future.
Brexit - global warming - democracy - poverty - education - crime - healthcare: these are the things that concern us now, about the future of which we try to care.
A lot of it looks like a mess at the moment for reasons we know well.
Yet in Christ we know all shall be well.
Yet whatever is going on in parliament at the moment, I would like everyone involved to consider what messages are being sent out to our young people.
Every action today both affects, and speaks to the future.
It’s not just about how history will judge - the is an old person’s perspective - like Paul in chains appealing to Philemon.
But it is also about what the young people hear, and see, and become.
Although we should retain perspective - international and spiritual.
Brexit may be a mess, but there are a people in the Bahamas injured, homeless, dead.
And Spiritual perspective.
Brexit - or not - is not our salvation.
We should be concerned, but we should not fear.
Christ is our salvation, and in him we trust.
The clay is dry, it needs some holy water - it needs screwing up and starting again - reforming, and in hope we turn to Christ, for our world, our nation, ourselves and our children.
But here and now, we pray for Karter, we wash him in water and ask God to help us form him in faith and hope and love.
The Rev'd Dr Gordon Giles, St Mary Magdalene, Enfield, 08/09/19