'At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? He called a little child and had him stand among them.And he said: I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.'
On Sunday we had the privilege of seeing our youngest daughter go through a service of blessing.
My friend John conducted the blessing and it was truly special time with a clear sense of God's love and presence.
It was a sacramental act.
In other words, God promised to be there by his Spirit through this act of blessing. As we welcomed Lizzie in the name of Jesus, Jesus was present in a very real and tangible way.
John spoke about how in every child there is the presence of God, and so in the presence of children we truly encounter God's presence.
Sarah and I made promises:
Sarah and Joe, do you thank God for the gift of your child,and do you accept the joys and duties of parenthood?
Gladly, we do.
Do you promise to bring Lizzie upwithin the Christian community,and, by God’s grace, live in such a way and love each other in such a way,that she will be nurtured by Christian loveand surrounded by the life of Jesus?
As disciples of Jesus, we do.
Will you seek to be parents of peace, sharers of love and signs of hope to Lizzie? Will you be faithful in prayer for Lizzie, seeking to walk in the likeness of Jesus for the sake of your daughter?
With the help of God’s Spirit, we will.
Our eldest daughter Grace also made a promise:
Will you promise to loveand help care for Lizzie?
We had it at Seale-Hayne. So we weren't in a 'church building' or anything like that. Rather, we were in a place of community where many different people from all walks of life meet week in week out. Church is the people. And it was truly church on Sunday.
Lizzie, we rejoice, for you are God’s gift to us.
Grow strong in the knowledge and love of God;
we pray that one day
you will be a disciple of Jesus Christ,
following him through the waters of baptism
and in a life of faithful witness;
bear the fruit of his Spirit
and live his great gift of love.
Lizzie, the Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift the light of his countenance upon you
and give you peace,
this day and always.
In the name of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.