The Baptism of Brianna and Anastasia

How do we know that somebody loves us? What they say and what they do / Words and gestures.

It has to be both! If somebody tells us they love us but acts mean to us, it is going to be hard to believe! If somebody is very nice to us but never say they love us, we might think we’re nothing special to them, maybe they are just nice to everybody…

We really know when people love us by what they say and do but yet what they do is the most important.

Maybe you have heard adults saying that they go to church to hear “God’s word”. And it is true, we’ve already done plenty of reading from the Bible today (4!), yet at church we don’t only listen to what Jesus had to say. We also remember his gestures, what he did.

The bread and the wine he shared with his friends (every Sunday) / washing the feet (Maundy Thursday) / anointing the sick (first Sunday of the month)/ baptism (Today). Jesus did not baptize but was baptized and told his disciples to baptize. Signs of God’s love and God’s presence with us. Something we can touch and see. So we are sure. Today we hear that Jesus took the children up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

We all need proofs that we are loved, no matter how old we are (at some point we all need a hug!)

Love is really the most important thing in the world. Sometimes life is difficult, we can go through disappointments and sorrows, and we hear around us about wars, people who are hungry or lonely. Most of the difficult things that happen in life comes from the fact that we are selfish, we don’t know how to love. We are unfair, we hurt each other. Jesus came to free us from that, so we can be open to others, generous and strong and overcome the bad things that happen to us, that people do to us or the bad things we have done.

Since love is the most important thing in the world, we have to start learning how to love very early.

This is why there is baptism and why we baptize children. Jesus asked people to let children come to him b/c he knew it is the most important moment in life to receive his love so we can learn how to love from him. People around Jesus and even Jesus’s friends thought that God was serious business so it wasn’t for children…But it is the other way around: Because God is serious business, it is for children! All the things super important for life you learn when you are a child: talk, eat, walk, learn to count and to read, you learn to love, be happy…After we get too busy, we don’t pay attention the same way, our heart is already formed. Like now you need to eat healthy food b/c your body is growing. Same with your heart. Now is the time for you to receive Jesus b/c your heart is being formed and this is what’s in our hearts, even more that in our brains, that guide us through life.

We hear in the Scriptures today: A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

So what is going to happen today?

First, we are going to ask you if you want to believe in Jesus’s love and to follow him. Believing in Jesus’s love means that we believe that not only we are loved but also that we believe that only love can really change the world. A lot of people don’t think love is that important, that it is more important to succeed, to be well-known, to have money, or just to not be in trouble and do whatever they want! When we receive the baptism and become christian, we say we turn away from this way of living to start a new one.

It is just the beginning, of course. We have a life to follow Jesus. Baptism is like moving to a new house / God’s house with God’s family. It is very important to move but then we have our whole life to learn how to live with God and God’s family. that’s why we will also ask you if you commit, with your parents and Godparents, to come to church, to read the Bible, to pray, to help other people etc.

Then you will receive the water on your forehead. In the Bible, when they moved from Egypt (the place where they were slaves) to Israel (the land God gave them) the Hebrews had to cross the waters. They had nowhere to go, they were afraid and attacked by the Egyptians but the sea opened up and they could walk towards God’s land. Water of baptism is a symbol, an image of moving, from one life to another. Starting to live and to think about life differently, when we have nowhere to go, God gives us new possibilities. Water washes us: we let go of what is past and start something new. Sometimes we do things that make us feel dirty inside and sad, like when we say something hurtful to somebody, but Jesus promises us that we can be cleansed whatever happens, even if we don’t think we can talk about what we did to anybody. The water of baptism can clean us from everything.

The Bible says: I will sprinkle clean water upon you and you will be cleansed from your uncleanness.
The ceremony of Baptism shows this is what God does to us always.

Then you receive the anointing (=oil)

Important people where anointed. Like kings. Means we are important to God and we receive God’s spirit. God is not just close to us, God is inside of us. We feel God’s presence and we are inspired to do the things that please God. When we love, we are full of energy…to create things, to give, to help people. Love also makes us strong and courageous. It makes us want to be honest and to tell the truth.

When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

Sign of belonging. Stain with oil on your clothes? It is very hard to wash away. It stays. I remember when I was a child, my mother always told me that she didn’t care if my clothes were dirty unless it was (Olive) oil! Of course it is easy to wash away on your skin, it won’t stay on your forehead but it is a sign to say that we belong to God. God washes away everything with water but then we receive the oil that does not go away. Sign that whatever we do we still belong. Like in a family. You can get very mad, fight, but you will always be sisters right? Impossible for you two not to be sisters anymore even if you decide to. We cannot break up with God. God will always love us and welcome us. (Sometimes relationships are difficult in a family but not so with God). In my life, I saw a lot of people coming back to church later in life as if they were at home.

All Christians receive the baptism – there is nothing more to do to become a Christian, it is not complicated, just receive the baptism and God will take from here! Means that we are part of a family, the Christian family. Life can be difficult but we don’t have to be alone. We can be there for one another, to share our sorrows and to rejoice.

Receive the Bread and the wine: share the meal. When you are members of a family you don’t stay in your room while others have dinner. You share the meal. Happy occasion. Jesus is especially present when we share the bread and the wine. It is a great moment to talk to him…

Happy are they who dwell in your house!

Invitation to rejoice today and we rejoice with you, for you and for ourselves and one another, remembering our own baptism…

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