“And now the soap”
These were the words my four year old brother piped up with at the very moment when the church was at its quietest just after the priest had baptised me.
It is good to listen to children, especially when they talk about the things of God. That’s why it is important to keep the children in church during all of the divine service, rather than separate them out into the hall for Sunday school, otherwise we miss out on their insights.
As it says at least twice in the Bible: wisdom emerges ‘Out of the mouths of very babes and sucklings’ (Psalm 8,2 quoted by Jesus in Matthew 21,16). Being washed of one’s sin alongside the symbolism of dying and rising with Christ are powerful components in the meaning of Holy Baptism.
Baptism is first and foremost a gift to us from God administered by the Church. But in handing over this gift, even the Church does not necessarily know the whole story. It is the recipient of baptism who has the opportunity to discover what exactly this gift entails. Like any gift it takes a moment to unwrap and a few moments more to discover how to play with it. It is in the nature of a gift given freely that it may end up being discarded or unused.
God in giving us this greatest of all gifts makes himself vulnerable to our rejection. For these reasons alone I remain firmly committed to the practice of infant baptism. And that is why we are so very moved today as Polly and Chris bring their one-year-old daughter Willow, sister to Jago already baptised, for Holy Baptism to this church during our main parish eucharist.
3 June 2018