It was early in the service at St. Luke’s. The first five pews were filled with joyful families and four glorious babies. Each infant adorned in magnificent christening gowns, some if not all, surely worn by their ancestors.
Two of the babies grew restless as babies are known to do, especially in church. Their grandmothers gently whisked them away into the sunshine to distract them as they awaited the moment they would be washed with baptismal water and sealed by the Holy Spirit as Christ’s own forever.
One of the grandmothers returned with her young charge. She stood at the rear of the small chapel, swaying back and forth, soothing the restless baby. Next to them, along the back wall is a columbarium where there are niches with nameplates identifying saints who have gone before us.
As I gazed upon this tender moment between grandmother and grandchild, the baby reached out her arms toward the columbarium wall. I imagined the communion of saints , those who have already run their race, reaching back toward her, and the other babies as well, welcoming them into the Body of Christ.
The grandmother took a step backward, a little closer to the wall and the baby reached out to touch a number of the niches in what seemed to be a blessing.
Those of us who are alive in this moment carry a sacred responsibility to continue the work of those who have gone before us and to prepare the way for those who have yet to come–to do our best to move the world closer toward the heavenly kingdom.
For Christians, we do that by living out “yeses” to the questions in our Baptismal Covenant (from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer according to the use in the Episcopal Church):
- Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and
fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the
- Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever
you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
- Will you proclaim by word and example the Good
News of God in Christ?
- Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving
your neighbor as yourself?
- Will you strive for justice and peace among all
people, and respect the dignity of every human
We will with God’s help. Amen.