- what a wonderful promise - and how appropriate as we come to baptise Eliza today. No one is ever going to be able to snatch this little one out of the hand of God. This is true for all of us, yet I wonder how often we pause to think about it and to register just how safe and held we truly are...
We know that a baby in the mother's womb learns to identify and respond to its mother's voice. When it is born it quickly bonds with its parents and becomes distressed if placed in the arms of another - there is a chance that Eliza will give us a good demonstration of this very shortly! Such is the attunement between a new born and those who love it most - an attunement absolutely necessary for the survival and well being of the infant. As spiritual children of God we attune to the voice of God and know ourselves safe and secure when we rest in God's embrace. It is very important that we remember and regularly connect with our experiences of being held by God. Sometimes when we are very busy, or a lot is going on in our lives, or perhaps we are not feeling so well, we can tend to forget and lose our attunement, our sense of connection with the Divine.
So what are some ways that we can reconnect and experience once again the joy and safety of being held by God? With a small child it is so easy isn't it - the parent picks the child up, and offers it solace or care or food, and suddenly it as though a switch has been flicked and the crying stops and peace returns. It is not always so easy as we get older and ego driven wants and desires come between us and God. Yet essentially the relationship is always one of simplicity and connection is fostered by simple things.
I am sure you will have your own ideas, but these work for me. Walking in God's creation, by day or by night, and realising that God is in every leaf and star, just as God is in me, and we are all bound together in the loving embrace of God. Breathing in and out slowly and remembering again that only in God does any one of us draw our next breath. Coming into a sacred place, like this church hearing the scriptures and remembering that the prayers of the centuries surround us and connect us back to their Source in God. Being in community with others who acknowledge their connection to God and receiving the bread and wine of the sacraments together. Each of these and many more just allows me to snuggle more deeply into the arms of God. Over time Rachel and Edward and Eliza's godparents will share with her their ways of remembering that they are held in God's love, and we trust and pray that she will grow up to know the Good Shepherd's voice for herself.
But today in the great sacrament of baptism, we take her and offer her back to a God as His beloved child, whom no one can ever snatch from his hand. Amen.
by Penny Jones, for Easter 4 Year C, 17 April 2016