Little James and his parents were in church and there was a baptism.
The boy was taken in by all of this. He observed the priest saying something whilst pouring water over the infant’s head.
With a quizzical look on his face, he turned to his father and asked with all the innocence of a five year old ‘Daddy, why is he brainwashing that baby?’
Out of the mouth of babes!
At the baptism later this morning we’ll be reminded of what it is to be a Christian.
We will say we turn to Christ, repent of our sins, renounce evil and profess faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
As we say it we will all be a little more brainwashed into Christianity.
At no other place does the Church of England make it so clear what it is to be a Christian than in the baptism service.
We will be brainwashed that bit more into the truth Paul announces in our epistle that the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are children of God and, if children, heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.
As we say what we believe, as we just did in the creed, our words enter our ears and descend to our hearts so that we believe it all the more.
Little James had a point.
In our or our parents choice for us of baptism there is a choice to be placed within the influence of Jesus Christ and his Spirit.
We are influenced by all sorts of worldly things but as Christians our greatest concern is to possessed by the spiritual focus that Jesus offers.
It doesn't matter how much we do or have but it does matter how much love we put into it and the use of it and to possess what Saint Paul writes of in Ephesians, namely to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, to… be filled with all the fullness of God.
Such an aspiration is a long haul. Baptism is a long haul. It costs a lot but it’s worth a lot as the promises of God make clear, and the pivotal promise is that we just affirmed of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
We do baptisms on Sunday morning when Jesus rose as a reminder of the call to the baptised to honour Sunday as the Day of Resurrection.
One of the things we get brainwashed or disciplined into as Christians is coming to church on a Sunday.
Sunday’s the day life triumphed over death in the resurrection of Jesus and there’s no more meaningful thing in life than what conquers death.
Earthly life’s a prologue. The book of life proper starts beyond the grave with Christianity’s Founder who is the life, the truth and the way.
Life is what Jesus is all about. God who gives us life wants to give us his life in his Son who said I came to bring them life and have it to the full (John 10 verse 10).
For a Christian the glass is never half empty it’s half full at the least and it gets to overflowing.
Another scripture, again from John, makes this plain. Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. Jesus says Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.
When we choose Jesus there’s a fruitful overflowing. Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit… wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
As someone said God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.
Religion can get a bit nutty, yes. It’s God-given but it does get man-handled.
We seek the spiritual fruitfulness that flows from the long haul of baptism, trust in God’s promises and the hope of the resurrection.
May the Holy Spirit who anoints us with the bread and wine and words of the eucharist bring us energy this morning as we offer ourselves our souls and bodies in union with Jesus Christ to God our almighty Father.