Colossians 2.6-15, Luke 11.1-13
[Look at what the children have built with the Megablocks.]
We need firm foundations. Before we start building, we need to make sure we’re building on something solid, something which can support what we build.
[Demonstrate what happens when you build Megablocks without firm enough foundations – they fall over.]
Firm foundations are important. And, as in Megablocks, so in life. What are the foundations on which we build our lives? That’s something which both the readings we heard this morning touch on. It’s also a suitable subject for a baptism and admission to communion service.
I sometimes have the pleasure of visiting families who are preparing for their child to be baptised. I often ask “What made you want to have your child baptised?” and the answer almost always includes some variation on wanting to give them a good start in life. And isn’t that what we all want for our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, godchildren?
And it’s what God wants for us too – however old we get, we are still God’s children and God, like any good parent, wants what’s best for us. Our Bible reading today portrays God as a loving parent, always giving God’s children – us – the things that will be good for us and not harm us.
But it doesn’t always seem quite that straightforward, does it? Perhaps when you turn on the news, and it seems there is more and more violence and hatred and chaos in the world; perhaps when someone you love is ill or in trouble or no longer around; perhaps then it doesn’t seem enough to say “ask, and it will be given to you”.
That’s where foundations come in. Our first reading talked about being “rooted and built up in Christ and established in the faith”. And that is what we are here to celebrate today. In baptism, Emmanuel becomes rooted in the church, fully part of the body of Christ. But that isn’t the end of the journey of course – it is the beginning. All through his life he will, with the help of God and the guidance of his family, god parents and the whole church of which he is a part, continue to be built up in Christ. His identity in Christ, through his baptism today, will become a key part of the foundations on which his life is built.
And as Ashvin comes today to begin receiving the bread and wine of Holy Communion, we can see the fruit of his journey with God so far, as he too is rooted and built up in Christ. For him, as for all of us, communion will be one of the vital ways in which he continues to be built up in Christ, as his faith continues to develop and his journey with God goes on.
For all of us, our rooting, grounding, foundation in Christ is what builds us up – in the sacraments of baptism and communion, in prayer, in love of God, neighbour and enemy, in forgiveness.
Our faith does not let us get away from the mess and chaos and pain of the world, and of our own lives. But it does give us a foundation to build on – a foundation which holds firm in every season, whatever comes our way. That foundation is Jesus, whose body we are.
Being rooted in Christ, built on firm foundations, should not enable us to rise above the problems of the world. It should not enable us to pass unscathed through the difficult times in our lives. But it should enable us to remain in Christ, in whatever situation we find ourselves, and to live as people of peace, joy, love, and hope, as signs of Jesus’ love for all people. In short to shine as lights in the world to the glory of God – as we will pray at the end of this baptism service.
In today’s gospel reading Jesus gives his followers the prayer we now know as the Lord’s Prayer. It is prayed in every church, in every language, around the world, and has been throughout the ages. It is, if you like, the foundation of our shared life of prayer. It has been said that if you pray the Lord’s Prayer, you will have prayed everything that is necessary. It is a prayer to use in all circumstances.
As Ashvin and the other children being admitted to communion prepared for this important step, we explored praying the Lord’s Prayer not only with words, but also using our whole bodies. We’d like to invite you to share in that now and, as we do so, to reflect on the foundations on which your life in Christ is built.
[Lord’s Prayer body prayer.]