A lasting Gift

Baptism message

Up until last Tuesday my darling wife Cathy was in South Australia visiting family, and while she was away, I decided to re-arrange our lounge room. Sounds easy. Problem was that I had so much stuff to re-locate it became quite a job. Stuff that some might call junk, but stuff that I collect that I find different and interesting. Currently that stuff is still placed in no order what so ever over the garage floor, study floor, study shelves and study desk.

Funnily enough one off those things lying by my desk was this chocolate given to me by a friend of a friend who was a member of the an elite club. Remembering that at the time (some seven years ago) that he said believe me, you won’t not only ever get one of these again and it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever see one again. Surely this must be the Grange Hermitage of chocolates.

So last week sitting at my computer, for some reason I thought-let’s check out this club. I didn’t get very far as on Wikipedia, basically the only information available was that “The Club is an exclusive gentlemen’s club. So I looked on their own web site sight and in the “Facts and questions” page I noticed that:

Q. 16. Is there a Dress Code?

Gentlemen: Jacket and tie in all public areas
Visiting Ladies: Equivalent standard
Casual dress is permissible on the First Floor Balcony at breakfast and when entering or exiting the Club

Q. 17. Are there restrictions for ladies?
Yes, Members and Male Guests only in the:

Main Dining Room before 5.30 pm
Large Smoking Room weekdays 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Small Smoking Room Friday 10.00 am – 4.00 pm

Interesting enough on their web page there is no details of how to become a member-

so I assume that’s it’s an if you have to ask, you most surely are not up to standard required type of situation.

I collect things and some of you might remember that several years ago Vegemite look to change its name to isnack2.0. I assume they were trying to get in on the I-phone, I-pad train, and so why not i-snack 2.0. It lasted on the shelves for only a few days after the vegemite eaters of Australia revolted and demanded it rebrand it’s rebranding. As I said I collect things and after hitting most supermarkets in the Adelaide CBD area I am now the proud owner of 23 of these isnack 2.0’s and as I see the best before date is 2010, 1st of April, maybe more me the fool.

I phones, I pads, Isnack 2.0 or ever the ever allusive I’m a member an elite club. The problem when it’s all, I, I, I or me, me, me, like an ageing boxer, it’s only a matter of time before a bigger I comes along and I love the story of Kerry Packer who when playing at a table in Las Vegas and noticing  a very confident and loud person loving the attention he was getting, turned to him and said “my why are you such a popular and powerful person”, and after the person replied “because I’m worth one hundred million dollars”, Kerry simply drew a coin from his pocket and after having put down the challenge that “I’ll toss you for it-double or nothing”, a rather quieter person departed sheepishly from his company.

Living in the land of I can be fun, tantalising and enjoyable. But only for a time because either a new or stronger version will replace it, or the reality of the “I can’t take it with me” strikes as we realise that the roof racks on a hearse are not for luggage. In our short time on this earth, from beginning to end, from cradle to hearse there are so many variables that we can be left wondering where we are in scheme of things. The what if’s of life? The what ifs, that lead to the why’s and sooner or later, fear of what lies ahead-even if that be only the fear of the unknown felt on our last day.

Our God, God the Father of Jesus Christ is not a God of fear, but a God of love. His love so great that He gave us His Son Jesus Christ, who in turn gave His life that anyone who believes that He is the messiah, the Saviour sent to the world and that in trust in Him and in Him alone their sins are forgiven, they like Christ are given the promise that they too will be raised in the second life to reside forever with those who have gone before and who will go after in that same belief. That is the summary of Christian faith. No actually that’s the entirety of Christian faith.

A simple truth. Yet a truth so simple and unworldly that it is an easy target for the powers of darkness to attack and place before us the logical thoughts of our need to work our way to heaven, or alternatively tell us the truth of our sins to lead us to doubt that we could be saved. It’s a good trick because ultimately there’s some truth to it. We are sinners and if we look into the inner core of our soul where we hide the things we choose not to remember or at least would rather not, we see that yes, in our land of I,I,I we have fallen short many, many times over our journey. But like our God, God the Father is not a God of fear, but of love, so is our Saviour Jesus Christ and in His love that we need not live our lives wondering and in despair of where we stand in regards to our heavenly status He gave us the gift of Baptism. The gift of baptism that closes the door on the wolf at the door as he tries to upset with human logic the sure truth of forgiveness and salvation in trust, and in faith in Christ alone.

Our Lord and Saviour walked this earth and knows the difficulties we face and the doubts that come to us and so He gave us Baptism. The gift of Baptism He will give today to this young girl so that should she doubt her goodness or her place before God, that she not listen to those human thoughts from inside, but listen to His Words from outside. His Words, His promise, that if you are baptised and believe that I am your Saviour-then nothing in all creation can ever break or take away from you your gift of eternal life.

Baptism is a gift of the sureness of what awaits, and a gift that allows us to live in the  here and now and though in our lives we will still share happiness with sadness and comfort with hardship, we never need share the doubt of ourselves with the surety of the love and salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.