Rev Paul (Vicar of Hoylake)
Thoughts for October 2017
Over the last twelve months, we have seen an increasing number of baptisms - and we have been privileged to have a significant number of them taking place as part of our regular Sunday morning service at St Hildeburgh's. I believe this is a huge step forward for us - seeing these little ones baptized into the community of faith - surrounded by the actual community of St. Hildeburgh’s. In the Bible, St. Peter tells us quite clearly in the Book of Acts (chapter 2, verse 38):
"Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"This is important, because these children and their families come not only for baptism, but to be welcomed into the Church. It is therefore very important that all our congregation turn out for every baptism. The light of Christ is passed to each child as they are baptized - and the light of Christ is evident in the congregation as we pray together and welcome these little ones. You can’t afford not to be there! Our life depends on YOU. I am reminded of the words in the Bible from the Gospel according to St. Mark:
‘When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”’I know it can be noisy with lots of children in church, but let’s thank God for that. Let’s thank God for their presence among us. Let’s thank our amazing God that we have the freedom to worship him together with new members. The way we welcome these children and their families will reflect on how the Church grows. Each year we must face the passing away of some of the saints of our Church, they having played their part in our story of faith.
As we accept loss, we must also be thankful for their dedicated lives - and look to the future as we honour their contribution. Every generation brings great change and mostly for the good. Keeping hold of the very best of our traditions: The reading of Holy scripture, the singing of hymns and songs - along with the wonderful array of decorations and flowers that adorn the church especially at festivals is important. But if we take our eye off the goal - which is serving God in every generation - we may lose the Church of the future. St. Paul writing to the church in Rome said this:
“For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.”Together, we must seek the common good. We must build up our family - both young and old - and especially, we must be Disciples of Christ, and welcome in ALL who have come through our doors. Again, in the words of St. Paul:
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”