... here are the notes from Sunday's sermon at the adult baptism. It seemed to make sense to people. I hope so.
I have to confess I’m getting to the stage when I’m losing track of what day it is. Twice last week I thought it was Friday when it wasn’t – once on Wednesday and once on Thursday. The problem with these days as Christmas is getting closer is that they’re all a bit the same – loads to do, a mixture of writing cards, opening cards, writing more cards, buying and wrapping presents, thinking about food & drink and (for me at least) preparing lots of services. I may not know what day it is – but I know it’s very nearly Christmas – the signs are all around in The TV adverts, the shops, the music, the lights & trees... it all seems to have come round incredibly quickly.
We are all filled with expectation & excitement... or apprehension & dread, depending on your psychological make-up. It’s soon going to be Christmas.
So I’d forgive you for wondering why we have had a reading not about the birth of Jesus, but from 30 years on, when Jesus has started his work and preaching. John the Baptist has baptised Jesus and then John has been put in prison for his condemnation of his ruler, Herod. John is beginning to wonder whether Jesus is the Messiah after all. He sends his disciples to ask “Are you the one, or must we look for another?”.
Jesus tells him to look at the evidence “the blind recover their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, the poor are brought good news”. If Jesus was a modern day teenager he would simply say to John ‘Am I the one? Like, duh!’.
Who else but the Messiah could do those things?
When all these good thigns happen, you know God is at work in his world.
Darren, your baptism is just the beginning of a journey for you today. You want to be a good Godfather, you want to help to shape and guide a young life, and so you have taken this step of baptism yourself. You are responding to the evidence you have seen of God at work in the world in new life and new hope.
I want to give you – and all of us – a challenge today. You know it’s Christmas because of the evidence all around you. But right at the heart of Christmas is this message that God came into the world in Jesus. John the Baptist was challenged to look for the signs around him and I believe we are each challenged to look for the evidence around us. Look for goodness and new life, hope and joy in he world – and when you find them, think about the presence of God in them.
But it’s even more challenging than that. You might hear in the Christmas story about Jesus Christ - who was the word made flesh 2000 years ago. But you might wonder how people can see & hear that for themselves, as John did? How can the world of today see the human face of the one who is God with us?
People need to see the face of Christ today in us – that’s why the church, to which you’ve just been joined in baptism, is sometimes called the body of Christ.
Listen to the story the church tells; look at the love in the lives of the people who are part of the church; and think about what your part is going to be in showing the love of Jesus in the world.
Look for the evidence of God – and then be prepared to be that evidence for your godchild and for the whole world. And may God help each one of us to live up to that same challenge – in Jesus name. Amen.