Dear sister and brothers in Christ,
Welcome to worship as we move further into our journey through the Season of Lent. As I wrote last week Lent help us connect ever more deeply with Christ in community. This could be no more so than through baptism and today we welcome Ava Mary, along with her parents Catherine and Andrew, family and friends as we share in this joyful moment.
At the heart of the Sacrament of Baptism (an outward of an inward and spiritual grace), there is an opportunity to respond to the love of God, which was revealed in Christ (his coming, teaching and life, crucifixion and resurrection, along with sending his Spirit to remain among us). Following the baptism and then anointing we hear the words: ‘Live as a disciple of Christ, fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith’ to which the congregation responds, ‘Confess Christ crucified, proclaim his resurrection and look for his coming in glory.’ We are called through baptism ‘to shine as a light in the world to the glory of God.’ That is our on-going task as people of God and we hear it also clearly spoken by Jesus in today’s gospel when he says: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
The cross as an implement of terrible torture and death is also for us as people the means by which to recognise the completeness and extent to which God reveals love and our calling to let go and take on a way of living that reflects and lives-out Christlike values, and the desire to worship and always be seeking his presence.
May you journey well with Christ this week.
Rev Cannon Ian Howarth is the Rector of the Anglican Parish of St Paul's Kyneton and St John's Malmsbury and is the team leader of the Central Highlands Cluster.