Sunday 9th May 2021
(Revd Jeanette Hamer )
(Related readings can be found here)
(Family Service with Baptism of Velentina and Savannah )
The story that Ann read to us comes from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry here on earth. He was not coming to the river as a baby or a small child, but as an adult.
He knew that it was time for him to start the work that God had sent him to do.
Jesus, the Son of God, approaches John the Baptist, to be baptised.
The very idea seems to stun John,
‘It should be you baptizing me’ he says to Jesus,
knowing that Jesus had no need to be forgiven and cleansed from his sin, as he was sinless. But Jesus insists he should be baptised, to fulfil God’s plan.
This was to be the start of his public ministry.
And as he rises up out of the water, God announces to the world,
‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’
God acknowledges him in these words, and Jesus starts his ministry from that point.
He anoints him powerfully with the Holy Spirit, equipping him for the way forward.
It is then we see another symbol from Baptism described in these verses,
as the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus like a dove.
Baptism then is a sign of new life, a new beginning,
being born again by water and the Spirit, to live in God’s light as we walk through life.
This reading brings together the three facets of God, and although the word Trinity is not mentioned in the Bible, we see all three present here at Jesus’ Baptism.
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
In a few minutes we will be using those very words when I baptise Valentina and Savannah.
I wonder if you can think of something we say every week in Church that contains the same words? Any ideas?
The Creed. It’s a statement of faith, it tells of our belief.
There are actually three different creeds that we could use in church but usually we only use two. The one we use most of the time is a shorter one and it’s called the Apostles’ Creed. We call it the Apostles’ creed because some people think the apostles, Jesus’ friends, put the Creed together. All of these creeds contain the same beliefs, but in slightly different words.
It is a statement put together by early Christians and is made up of different part of Jesus’ story and it explains why this story matters to us. Each part is important because,
without it, we won’t know fully how God loves us.
We recite it each week because it helps remind us just how much Jesus loves us and why he is so important. The creed isn’t there as a test for us each Sunday, to be able to recite it– as if we have to understand it or fully believe every single part of it to call ourselves a Christian. The Creed matters for us because it gives us a complete picture of who Jesus is,
what he did and why he is important for God’s plan.
The creed helps remind us that we are all, as a community, growing closer to Jesus.
All of us, together, are needed to figure out who God wants us to be.
The creed is, then, what we as a community, teach and share, the fullness of Jesus’ story. The creed is a picture of God’s love for us,
his sending of his son Jesus and the faith that helps us see Jesus –
and live out the Christian faith.
The beliefs expressed in this concise statement include events of Christ’s life on earth, belief in one true God, and that of the Resurrection.
Let’s just take a few moments to look at this.
What are the three facets, or persons of God?
FATHER, SON, HOLY SPIRIT
What words could use to describe these parts, let start with
God the Father?
Creator, Just, Judge, Constant, Guiding, Law giving, Loving, Leading
God the Son?
Compassionate, Loving, Teaching, Leading, Guiding, Understanding
God the Holy Spirit
Healing, Supporting, Strengthening, Equipping
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again.
He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
And what are the important words at the beginning of the creeds?
What should be there at the beginning of our statement of faith?
In this service we are saying that we believe
and Velentina’s and Savannah’s parents and Godparent’s are saying they believe.
In a few minutes, they will stand by the font and promise
to lead the girls forward in their Christian lives.
They are making these promises on behalf of the girls,
until they are old enough to make them for themselves.
We will all also promise to support Velentina and Savannah,
to help them learn about God as they grow up.
We will be promising to tell them of God’s love for them
and of Christ’s death for us all on the cross and his glorious resurrection.
They can only hear of it and understand if we tell them.
At the end of the service we will present them with books of bible stories,
a present from the church, so that as they grow they can hear and eventually read for themselves about God’s love for them.
We are all called to share the good news with others we meet. To get alongside people and share his love and hope in these times of darkness.
We are called to get to know our community, with their needs, and start from there.
Our prayer for the girls today, and for all of us,
is that we daily choose to be washed clean of sin and to follow God’s path.
To be filled with the Holy Spirit and thus equipped to go out help others find the way.
Jesus said, ‘I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’
Let us all accept the life he offers