The road ahead
Speaking notes for short sermon at St James’ Colwall, 14 December 2014
John the Baptist’s explanation of baptism + Baptism
Travelling the Christian road:
- Travelling to Hereford – who’s done it in the train, the car, on a
bike, on foot?
- What if today’s baptism was in the Wye at Hereford and you had to
walk there to join in? H & S issues – Melanie in camel’s hair
cassock? Maybe not!
- What would motivate you to walk to Hereford? Thinking about this
gives us some idea of the impact of John the Baptist – people flocked
from the city to hear him and to be baptised in the Jordon. Nowadays
more likely to travel for a football match or to see a pop group than
to be part of a religious event.
- Very glad to see those who have already travelled a long way to be
with us today – good news, we don’t have to go any further!
- Road from Jerusalem to the Jordan – same as in Good Samaritan – 18
miles – still a dangerous road.
- How many potholes in the road between here and Hereford? Our
life-roads can be full of potholes too. Both physical and spiritual
- Right now, we are on the road (or downhill ski-slope!) to
Christmas. It’s easy to be so involved with the journey that we forget
what we are journeying for. That is why we have Advent –readings keep
us focused on where we are all going.
- Readings today speak to us of God’s unfailing love and generosity
towards us and our response.
- Baptism is a response to the love of God – a willingness to place
our lives, our road ahead in his hands.
- The road has dangers and difficulties but grounded in God’s love
and forgiveness, we will travel safely.
Seeing what’s ahead
- Baby is full of potential.
- Wouldn’t it be nice if we knew the future? Or would it?
- Christian faith does not enable us to see round bends and corners
in the road – problem with the Pharisees was that they wanted all the
H & S issues sorted out before they started.
- But belonging to Jesus does help us know that on our journey we
have both a purpose and a destination.
- It does show us how to travel – we do not travel alone on what can
be a dark and dangerous road. We are surrounded and supported always
by his love and his power which will keep us “sanctified in body, soul
- The road is full of potholes – Life is full of mistakes – but God’s
love, freely given in Jesus and promised to us in our baptism, enables
us to be “sound and blameless” .
- In baptism we use the candle as a symbol of this.
- We also know that however dark our road through the world may be
and however full of potholes, as children of God’s family we “shine
like lights before his face.”