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  • Writer's pictureRuth Dearnley

Promises of the Heart

Matthew 13

As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

On Sunday we celebrated Audrey’s baptism.

It was a wonderful time as a church community to stand together in support and prayer for this important moment in Audrey’s life and that of her family.

It took me back to the baptism of our children many years ago. They are now adults, making their own choices and leading their own lives. Mark and I are so proud of them and thankful to God for the gift they are to us.

What connects us to that day all those years ago when we held each them as babies at their baptism services and made those promises?

First it’s important to remember, our promises matter. The ones we make to God and the ones we make to one another. Promises of the heart can be helped by repeating them with our mouths. At every baptism service I have been a part of I continue to pray for my children and commit them and myself to God’s love.

The truth is, that God is better at keeping promises than we are. Matthew in his gospel, paints the powerful picture that when Jesus was baptised, heaven opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and a voice from heaven “this is my son whom I love, with him I am well pleased.”

And so often God’s love for his son is a picture of how he loves us.

Hear the words today for you and those you have brought to God for baptism. “This is my child, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased.”

Although we know our frailty and our struggle to keep our promises, God’s grace is enough. God takes our best effort to live out our lives in his love and renews and transforms who we are in this world.

As I stood in church yesterday, celebrating Audrey’s baptism, we witness that we do not live and work out our promises on our own. We do this together, in our earthly company, with those who went before us and in the company of heaven.

So let’s say again together these words from the baptism service:

We all wander far from God and lose our way:

Christ comes to find us and welcomes us home.

In baptism we respond to his call.

Therefore I ask:

Do you renounce all evil influences and powers that rebel against God?

I renounce all evil.

Do you trust in Christ’s victory which brings forgiveness, freedom and life?

In faith I turn to Christ, my way, my truth and my life.

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