Sermons 2005
The Baptism of Parker Benjamin Throckmorton, Pentecost Sunday, 15 May 2005

Home | "The One who is coming after me", Advent 2B, 4 December 2005, Mark 1:1-8 | "Stay awake. Be alert" Advent 1B, 27 November 2005, Mark13:24-37 | "Black Hat vs White Hat" Proper 26A, 30 October 2005, Matthew 23:1-12 | "Sheep and Goats -- again!" Proper 29A, 20 November 2005, Matthew 25:31-46 | "The Greatest Commandment" Proper 25A, 23 October 2005 Matthew 22: 34-46 | God and Caesar, Proper 24A, 16 October 2005, Matthew 22:15-22 | The Wedding Banquet, Proper 23A, 9 October 2005, Matthew 22:1-14 | The Landlord and the Tenants, Proper 22A , 2 October 2005, Matthew 21:33-43 | "Who will go?" Proper 21A, 25 September 2005, Matthew 21:28-32 | "The Last shall be first", Proper 20A, 18 September 2005, Matthew 20:1-16 | "Forgiveness, grace, and mercy", Proper 19A, 11 September 2005, Matthew 18:21-35 | "But who do YOU say that I am?" Proper 16A, 21 August 2005, Matthew 16:13-20 | "O God, how can we sing to you...." Katrina Relief, 4 September 2005 | "The kingdom of heaven is like...." Proper 12A, 24 July 2005, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-49a | "The wheat and the tares", Proper 11A, 17 July 2005, Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43 | "Ears to listen", Proper 10A, 10 July 2005, Matthew 15:1-9, 18-23 | "A cup of cold water", Proper 8A, 26 June 2005, Matthew 10:34-42 | "Heseth: lovingkindness, not sacrifice", Proper 5A , 5 June 2005, Matthew 9:9-13; Hosea 6:6 | Trinity: A Theological Exploration, 22 May 2005, Matthew 28:16-20 | The Baptism of Parker Benjamin Throckmorton, Pentecost Sunday, 15 May 2005 | "Receive the Holy Spirit" Pentecost , 15 May 2005, John 20: 19-23 | "Unity or schism?" Easter 7A, 8 May 2005, John 17:1-11 | "Abide in me", Easter 6A, 1 May 2005, John 15:1-8 | "The Way, the Truth, and the Life", Easter 5A , 24 April 2005, John 14:1-14 | "Saint Thomas the Doubter", Easter 2A, 3 April 2005, John 20:19-31 | "The Lord is Risen Indeed!", Easter A , 27 March 2005, Matthew 28:1-10; John 20:1-18 | "The Shadow of the Cross", Passion Sunday A, 20 March 2005, Matthew 26:36-27:66 | Raising of Lazarus", Lent 5A, 13 March 2005, Ezekiel 37:1-14; John 11:1-44 | "Who are the blind?" Lent 4A, 6 March 2005, John 9:1-38 | "Water and Living Water", Lent 3A, 27 February 2005, John 4:5-42 | Baptized and Born Again", Lent 2A, 20 February 2005, John 3:1-17 | Temptation and the Kingdom of God, Lent 1A, 13 February 2005, Matthew 4:1-11 | "'Tis good to be here, " Epiphany Last A, 6 February 2005, Matthew 17:1-9 | "Follow me!" Epiphany 3A, 23 January 2005, Matthew 4:12-23 | "Come and See!" Epiphany 2A, 16 January 2005, John 1:29-41 | The Baptism of our Lord -- and Ours, Epiphany 1A, 9 January 2005, Matthew 3:13-17 | Christmas 2A: The Tsunami, God, and our Neighbor", Matthew 2, 2 January 2005 | Next Sunday to be posted soon

10 AM Pentecost A 2005 Baptism of Parker Throckmorton

What a wonderful way to celebrate the Day of Pentecost with the baptism of little Parker Throckmorton. In a real sense, the first Day of Pentecost was not just the birthday of the Church, it was the baptism of the Church.

It is always a very wonderful thing when someone is presented to God and before this congregation for baptism. Usually we baptize infants and small children. There’s nothing more wonderful to see than the faces of the babies and their parents while they are being baptized. If ever there is a time when the light of Christ is shining on and from the faces of people, it is then.

For us, Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble. (BCP, 298)

In short this means that nothing can unbaptize the baptized. It is once and for all. There is one Lord, one faith, and one Baptism. One only. No power can snatch you from the arms of the God who loves you. Because God is the only source of real life and because God alone is holy, whose holiness excludes sin, baptism for Christians means to be washed clean of sin. The significance of Christian baptism therefore is that baptism is the real action of the holy God in relation to humanity and is profoundly more than superstition or symbol. It is a real act of God, God acting through and in and with the Holy Spirit, toward and upon a real human being. (TDNT, I, 540ff)

It is the presence of God in Baptism that makes it both Holy Baptism and a sacrament. Whenever God was manifestly present acting in the moment of the life of one of his children, a sacrament had occurred, was present. Sometimes we call these holy moments, sometimes aha moments, sometimes mountaintop moments. But it is clear that both God and humanity are involved.

Whenever there is a baptism, God is present in the world acting in the world. Priests are only the earthly agent for both the holy company and for the church here present - the outward and visible sign of the abundant and overflowing grace within which we are awash. And today is the Day of Pentecost, the day of the Holy Spirit, the day the Church was born. Just before the first Pentecost, Jesus said to his disciples, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."

And even earlier, Jesus had promised that he would

not leave his disciples alone in the world - that the Holy
Spirit would come into the world to teach them what they
needed to know to carry on the work he had begun.

Just as God empowered Jesus in his baptism in the River Jordan, so God empowers us through our own Baptism to carry on that work. Just as Parker Throckmorton will be empowered on this day of Pentecost.

Those varieties of gifts about which Saint Paul wrote: in his baptism, Parker will be empowered and enabled to take his place in the fullness of his time to do the work which God has for him to do. The work will be given to him and the gifts to do the work will be given to him as well.

Baptism is more than just simply a commitment on

our part, more than a duty to which we are called. And
Baptism, the sacrament through which we enter the community and company of Jesus, the Church, is not just and not finally a set of hard promises that we make.

It is not only a matter of God's covenant with us. It is also a matter of our covenant with God. It is covenant love, loving kindness, steadfast love, the kind of love embodied in the summary of the law: Love God with all that you are and have and love your neighbor as yourself. Steadfast loving kindness, the love that never stops no matter what.

On God's part, Baptism is God lifting us out of the

waters of chaos and death into the new life which is God's
gift in Jesus.

That is what is acted out in Baptism, the essence of what occurs in Baptism, of which water and word are sign and symbol. That is what we celebrate about this little child as we participate in his Baptism and that is what we celebrate as the truth about ourselves each and every time we do participate in the sacrament of Holy Baptism. Nowhere do the gospels speak of Baptism merely as water that washes. Rather, Baptism is the flood that drowns, overwhelming us and overpowering us with the love and power of God and hurling us into the flowing river of the Christian life to do the Lord’s work and to use the gifts we are given.

We do not know yet what gifts Parker will be given.

We know that the gifts will be given. And we know that it is the responsibility of parents and godparents and grandparents and great grand parents - and of every one
else here present in this congregation to day to remind him
that these gifts are not his alone.

To remind him that they are his by the grace and steadfast loving kindness of the sweet Lord who loves us all. To remind him that he will be given work to do and these gifts are given for that doing. That is why we baptize Parker with Holy Water in the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That is why we anoint him with oil.

For those who call themselves Christians, Baptism is the first and most important ordination, consecration, and empowerment of our lives in the priesthood of all believers. Anointing and laying on of hands have always also been the means of healing, of comforting, of seeking the restoration of strength and health. This imparting of divine strength gives us the human strength to do the doing that is laid before us, strength for the living of our lives.

That is what Baptism means for us – this Day of Pentecost and every day of our lives.


Wicomico Parish Church, Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579