Stardate: 12th June, 2015.
When I lived in England, the churches there had a tradition of remembering the anniversary of baptisms. Each person (usually a child) received an annual card from the church congregation, celebrating their “Baptismal Birthday”. Some churches even had a plaque on the wall listing all the names and dates of those baptised in that congregation, often dating back years. I thought that this was a lovely idea – to celebrate two days each year – when a person was born into the world, and when they became a member of God’s family.
Lutheran Christians teach that baptism brings about salvation and new life; it is valuable. Baptism is not simply a sign but a means of grace (1 Peter 3:21), an instrument by which we receive the new birth in the Spirit (Titus 3:5).
And, the Bible says in Galatians 3:27: “for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ”. What a lovely thought. Perhaps that is why those being baptised traditionally wear white gowns.
So, why this reflection today? Well, June 12th marks the “Baptismal Birthday” of a wonderful child, our son James.
Ten years ago today (12/6/2005) in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Ararat, in country Victoria. In the arms of his Godmother and Aunt Jill, with the support of Godfather Martin standing by, to the fascination of then 3-year old sister Cassie. And most proud of all, his Dad – who feels that one of the greatest privileges he has had in life is to have been able to baptise his own two children (as well as his niece Ellie).
So, ten years ago, surrounded by family and friends from near and far, we especially cherished this little child. I held him close and wondered what the future may bring. I cuddled my tiny blonde son and wondered what plans God might have for this New Life.
Fast Forward to 12th June 2015 and what an accomplished young man James has become. He is Smart. Funny. Loving. Precise. Curious. Worried. Laid-back. Crazy.
Learnt to ride his first bike, aged 3, in 20 minutes. Can play “Bugler’s Dream” on the Saxophone (although he does insist on pronouncing it “Buggler’s”). Can actually touch his nose with his tongue (which I thought a rare skill, until we discovered his Grandmother Sylvia can do it, too).
Is not only a “Cricket Tragic” (like his father) but the jammy kid has skill – he can bat, bowl and field. This year he took up Hockey. “Start in the Under 10 Team”, they said. “After a few months he can try “playing up” in the Under 12’s,” they said. Time lasted in the Under 10 team? Half a match…
He is determined. For three years in a row now,he has won his school’s cross-country running for his age.
I still shake my head in wonder that I, one of the least sporting people I know, gave birth to this child.
It seems if he puts his mind to something, there is nothing this son of ours cannot do. This year he has been unhappy at Primary School. Retirement of senior staff has lead to new, unfamiliar leadership of a different style. One of his best friends moved away. He badly misses Big Sister Cassie (now at High School) to whom he is very close.
So last month was the Scholarship exam for King’s, the wonderful school where I teach and Cassie attends. James was determined to do his best in the Scholarship examination. He psyched himself up. He apparently offered a silent prayer before he put pencil to paper. Afterwards he confided to me he was fairly confident he had worked out 43 of the 45 questions, and perhaps one of the last two?
This week I met with the Primary Principal and the school has generously offered James an 100% Academic Scholarship (meaning he scored in the top 5% of those who sat the exam).
His prayers have been answered. He joins his sister in July.
Oh, what a wonderful gift King’s has given him. And blessed not only James but us as a whole family. With the security, now, of knowing that regardless of what the future holds, both our children have the opportunity to complete their schooling at a quality College and in a nurturing, Christian environment. And also in practical ways, simplifying our busy family life, such as releasing Neil from the constraints of timing his work start time at his office with the morning School Run.
But, more so, how blessed are we to have James as a member of our family.
As 2 Corinthians 9:15 says: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”