Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sermon for the Baptism of Benjamin Henry Robertson

Using the Lectionary readings for Trinity Sunday)
Saturday, June 18, 2011
The Chapel of the Transfiguration
Kanuga Conference Center, North Carolina
The Rev. Jeanne Finan

The Baptism of Benjamin Henry Robertson

We are here today to celebrate
and to baptize Benjamin Henry Robertson.

Matthew’s gospel tells us what to do: …
..[baptize] them in the name of the Father
and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

We will do just that in a few minutes.
We will baptize Henry.

And I do mean “WE”
Yes, I am the Celebrant today—
but Henry will be baptized by so much more
and by so many more than just me.

Because God seldom works solo.
The theology of the Trinity gives us a hint of that--
God the three in one, the one in three.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
God loves a community!!

Henry will be baptized in the name of the Trinity
and will officially
become part of the Christian community today.

Every one of you—every one of us—
regardless of whether you are here today
as a passionate believer or as one who questions
or even doubts—
regardless, we are gathered here today
as part of the body of Christ
who brings Henry to this font.

Who is this body of Christ gathered here today?

Certainly Anna and Ellen and Ben,
Definitely Henry’s grandparents and godparents—
all the rest of the family--
friends from many places.
All those saints who have gone before us.
All those who have sang and worshipped
and prayed here in this chapel.
Henry comes to the waters of baptism
to join the Christian community throughout the ages--
to be marked as others have been before him--
marked as Christ’s own forever.

We are all bound together with Henry.
Baptism does that.
Love does that.

Our readings this morning speak of great love.
A love that made God want to bring all things into being.

In the beginning God created…
God created heavens and earth,
day and evening
strawberries and bananas and macaroni and cheese.
Birds and aardvarks and golden retrievers
and every living creature.
And God created Benjamin Henry Robertson.

Did I mention that God doesn’t like to work solo?

I do believe we all know that Ben and Ellen got to be partners
in God’s great love that created Henry.

We are here today because we, too, are called
to be part of Henry’s baptism.
We too are called to be part of all that happens
in Henry’s life from this day forward.

We are called to be present around this font
and to be present with Henry as he grows
into all that God dreams him to be.

We are here for Henry
and to reflect seriously upon the promises made at baptism.

What will our lives show Henry about resisting evil?
What will our stories tell Henry
about fellowship and friendship,
about loving God and loving our neighbor?

What will our lives teach Henry about striving for justice,
about respecting the dignity of every human being?

Words are wonderful, beautiful creations.
I am a great lover of words.

But the Word of God is the word we are called to live,
not just talk about.
Henry will be watching.
Henry will be paying attention.
Henry will notice how we live.

We don’t get to come to a baptism as a spectator
any more than Henry is a spectator today.

Great love brought us here to this font today.
Baptism is a response to the unconditional love God offers us.
Baptism is saying YES!

Love makes us do crazy, wonderful, holy things.

Great love brought Henry to these waters of baptism today
and great love will send Henry out into the world.

Our call is to travel this journey WITH Henry—
with our presence
and with our prayers.

So let’s begin this wonderful journey together!
Let’s baptize Benjamin Henry Robertson!

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