Sermon for the Baptism of 9 Children

Emery, Jacob, Camryn, Hanson, Hayden, Quinn, Hannah, Ashford, and Hannah - Itís Not Just Your Special Day; Itís Ours Too!

Today, I want to talk to you, you little (and not so little) ones. As I said this message is for each one of you. I also want to talk to your brothers and sisters, your parents, grandparents and the other folks assembled here but they will have to listen in and read between the lines! So everyone - please listen up!

Today is your special day - there is no one like you in the whole world and there never was and never will be. Even though two of you go by the same first name, you are not like anyone else! We believe that God loves each one of us just as we are and God always will. God loves you even when you do the most unloving of things and God will love you when you grow up and do the most unloving of things, when you hurt others and even when you actions deny this God given identity of beloved child.

And - I must be clear - just because there are 8 other baptisms today, you are still Godís special child. Never forget that! God has hopes for you just as your parents and grandparents do - Godís hopes include living toward your potential to be a fully human expression of Godís love.

Your patents have brought you here today for baptism because

a) itís what we do as Christians

b) they want you to be a part of this community

c) they want to state publically that the way of Jesus is important to them and hope it will be to you as well.

I hope some of you will remember this day and I know that some of you will not. I hope your parents or your grandparents will tell stories about this day. When your mom shows you your candle, or certificate and maybe a picture taken today she will tell you more about it. Your Dad will tell you, perhaps that you absolutely howled when the minister put water on your head? Your gramma will tell you that you make a funny face when the minister introduced you to the congregation? Maybe you are wearing great grammaís baptism gown or maybe you got a new shirt and tie for just this occasion. I hope someone will read you the stories in the Bible story book which will remind you that we are all called to walk in Godís way.

Outside the doors of this church is a wonder-filled world. We live in Canada and I can say that we are the greatest country in the world, without expecting that people in other places have to agree with me! I hope that everyone loves the place they live because God loves all people in every country of the world. As Canadians we are pretty good at some things and not so good at others. We still have poor people who could use more assistance but we have lots of people who spend a lot of time helping others. We have people who help the sick and teach the young and comfort those who are sad too! And we have folks who try to be the best moms and dads and grandparents and neighbours they can be.

We live in a very pretty place and close to nature. We are lucky. If you look up in the sky you might see an eagle - majestic and strong or you might see some deer running in a field on your next drive to a hockey game and they seem to go so fast and without any effort! Drivers, watch out- they were not taught to look both ways before they crossed the highway! In the summer you may see tiny, tiny hummingbirds that are truly an amazing part of creation.

If you watch or listen to the news there will be lots of stories that are frightening, or disturbing or confusing. Your parents and grandparents have seen a lot of change in their lifetime, and some of it isnít good at all, but thatís where God calls us to live out our faith and make a difference.

When you become teens and then adults, unless things change there will be a temptation to live on your phone! Smart phones present us some very interesting stuff. Donít let that gadget take over your life! Look up and around you at Godís world and those who are with you - at the restaurant, at school, or on a drive somewhere. God calls us to be fully present in the community and with the people who are in our lives. You will be faced with many choices; choosing the way of Jesus is not always clear but it is your call, itís the call all of us have agreed to follow.

Some of you think that grownups like your parents know everything. (Some of you will soon be at an age where you think your parents know nothing at all!) But Iíll let you in on a secret - some days after you have gone to bed - they sit and wonder how they will get through the next day or the next week. They love being your moms and dads but itís hard work! Every parent in every generation has felt the same way at least once. You did not come with an ownerís manual like their car or new appliance. So give them a hug once in a while and tell them that you love them. Remind them that God loves them too and wants to be part of your lives.

When you come to church here remember that you have a whole community of people who have promised to help your parents and to show you love, to show you their love and to show you Godís love. They will help you to walk in Jesusí way, and to live in Godís love.

The Christian faith is not about getting rich, or famous but it is about giving and serving and helping others in justice, compassion and love. Donít worry about making mistakes - no one is perfect, we also follow a God who forgives mistakes.

So, Baptism is, first and foremost, about God and Godís grace and love.

If I havenít scared your parents off - lets proceed .................