Of course, baptism and the Christian life, just like the Jewish life of faith that Jesus experienced, often don’t feel as though they are about transformation. Often, they have seemed to be about rules and conformity. Better that the blind man in this story stay blind than that the rules be broken! The Pharisees see Jesus just as a dangerous rule breaker should be stopped. But they are really the blind ones in this story.
Charlotte’s parents and godparents will affirm that they turn to Christ – that is to say that they turn towards the light and seek to see truly what is important. Just as the man in this story goes through death and resurrection – the placing of clay, symbol of mortality on his eyes, and its washing away with water, the gift of life – so Charlotte too passes from death to life through the sacrament of baptism. It is a symbol for all of us of the way that throughout our lives the old way of being and doing drops away and new levels of being and doing are brought to birth.
It is never an easy process. It will certainly not be easy in our world our church in the coming days. But if we are open to the Spirit, we will find ourselves through this experience seeing more truly. As Antoine de St Exupery put it so brilliantly in his children’s classic, ‘The Little Prince’: "One cannot see rightly except with the heart. What is essential is invisible to our eyes.’’ It is with our hearts that we can see that we are all one in God’s love, and it is into that great love that we baptize Charlotte today. May she, and may we, seek to see truly and love deeply our whole life long. Amen.
by Penny Jones, 4th Sunday of Lent, 22 March 2020