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John 3:1-17

Trinity Sunday, May 26, 2024

Holy Trinity Cathedral

“By Water and the Spirit”

You might want to look up  the children’s story “On the Day You Were Born” by Debra Frasier that was read at the beginning of this reflection.

We are so glad you’ve come today.  Hudson, Francis, and each of you here present: you are a beloved child of God.  What we do today in this cathedral is an affirmation.  It is a “yes” to the Creator who makes us, the Son who redeems us, and the Spirit who shapes us.  Today we celebrate a second birth-day as we welcome two new Christians into the family of faith.

We do this in community.  Baptism is not a private blessing or naming ceremony.  We are gathered together as witnesses so that in the future we can tell Hudson and Francis the story of their baptism.  This day is a new beginning in a lifetime growing into understanding love. They need our help to practice.  And we need each other’s help to be honest, so that we can all walk in the light.  This day is not just for Hudson and Francis.  It is for you and for me as well.  

To help them understand God’s love, we commit ourselves to living in loving relationship.  To help them understand God’s forgiveness, we commit ourselves to walking a path of reconciliation.  And to help them understand what it means to live sacrificially, we commit ourselves to giving the best of who we are and what we have.  The promises we make with them and for them are not just for the moment, but for the rest of our lives. 

We make a covenant to do these things with God’s help.  The starting point is knowing we aren’t perfect but that God loves us anyway.   What God has already done for us through Jesus brings us into right relationship.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”.  We believe that water and the spirit mark us as a new creation in baptism.  But we also know how far we fall short at times.  Followers of Jesus model repentance, turn back for forgiveness, and have the courage to try again.    A community of faith helps each other in  finding  a way back onto the path when we stumble.

We who are gathered here are not the only ones that will help Hudson and Francis on this adventure.  There is so much in store for them!  They will have all creation to teach them about beauty and generosity and the loving care of God their heavenly Father.  They will have scripture and teachers and friends to show them the healing and forgiving and embracing way of Jesus.  Through prayer and active service they will come to know the power of the Holy Spirit.  We can point to signs of God’s presence around them if we are willing to look too!  And they will also help us to see more clearly, with eyes full of wonder at all God’s works. 

Today this community celebrates the miracle of being born again by water and the Spirit.  As we welcome Francis and Hudson on their second birth-day, we remember that we, too, were made in love. We, too, were made for love.  How is God inviting you to respond?  Amen.