an emerging, missional Christian community in the Scranton, PA area:
rooted in the Episcopal Church, welcoming all.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

for jude

Peacemeal had our first baptism this week! Josh and Jill's bright and beautiful boy was baptized on Friday night. What a joy for us all. Continued love, joy and the blessings of Christ, baby Jude.


The Rev. Demery Bader-Saye
Homily for the Occasion
of Jude Isaac’s Baptism
in the 23rd week of Pentecost
Friday, October 19, 2007
Peacemeal Community, Scranton

Canticle 9, from the first Song of Isaiah
Mark 10:13-16

“Sing praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, and this is known in all the world. Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy.” And what joy we have on this special day, the day we welcome Jude Isaac officially into God’s family – the day that we pray for the Holy Spirit to pour out God’s blessing on Jude, sealing him as Christ’s own forever.
Today Josh and Jill and Helen and Jer, Jude’s Godparents, and we, Jude’s family and his Christian community, make vows, proclaim faithfulness and love for God on Jude’s behalf – we say words he doesn’t yet understand, we do gestures he can only wonder at. And yet, because of God’s faithfulness to us, and our faithfulness to God, week by week, year by year, as we continue to speak these words, do these gestures, they will become his own. And his life will be shaped by a community of faith, a family who loves and cares for him, and by the God who knit him together in his mother’s womb.

Jude one day I hope you’ll read this sermon (there’s a copy of it in your card) – and that you’ll know more about your baptism day because of it. If there is one sentence that speaks the words I would want you to know, it is this sentence from tonight’s gospel lesson “Let the little children come to me...” It is this spirit of generosity, of longing, of joy and love, which is the reason for your birth. Your mommy and daddy wanted you so much! With undisguised longing and (sometimes impatient :) expectancy, they wanted you and how they and we here rejoiced on the day that you were born! “Let the little children come to me” – these words express the hopes of your parents, but they are also the words of Jesus, the son of God, the King of all Creation, who came to us not on a golden throne from the clouds, not by apparating to us from his castle in the sky, but as a child, as a baby, a tiny, defenseless baby, born to a young and willing mother and a devoted father of exceptional character. These words were spoken by that same baby, all grown up – a carpenter, a healer, a teacher, a friend, a miracle worker, a Savior of boundless love and the unimaginable ability to live at peace with those around him, even those who wanted to do him harm. And when parents, who wanted the best for their children, who wanted to protect them, for goodness all around them, when those most attentive of parents drew near to Jesus, seeking his blessing upon their children, the disciples tried to shoo those children and their parents away. They thought they were doing Jesus a favor – they assumed that he was much too busy and important to take the time to be with children. But on this point, Jesus made himself ever so clear. “Let the little children come to me, do not stop them: for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. And – moreover – whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”

So Jude – you’ve got it all right here... attentive and loving parents and a big extended family who love you, Godparents who today promise to stand with you as long as they live, and a community of believers ready to welcome you in the way Christ commanded us. For not only are we excited to see you grow, to teach you all we know and model for you a life of joy and service in Christ, we have much to learn from you. For it is your trust, your wonder, your vulnerability, your joy, your contagious laughter, your uninhibited tears that teach us how to approach the throne of God, who will always and forever, from this day forward, know you and love you as his own child, no matter how old and self-sufficient you come to be.

For surely it is God who saves us; We will trust in God and not be afraid. For the Lord is our stronghold and our sure defense, and the Lord will be our Savior. Therefore tonight we draw water with rejoicing from the springs of salvation. And tonight we say, give thanks to the Lord and call upon God’s name; Make God’s deeds known among the people; see that they remember that God’s Name is exalted. Sing praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, and this is known to Peacemeal, and the city of Scranton, and the state of Pennsylvania and in North America and, indeed in all the world. Welcome to the family of God, Jude Isaac!

And let the people say, AMEN!

And now I invite Jude and his parents and Godparents to come forward for the Sacrament of baptism.


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