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Church sermon

September 14, 2008

Was I suffering from a hangover? Was I tired? Was I coming down with some hideous end-of-the-Proms cold brought on the sudden realisation the season was at an end and I could finally breathe a sigh of relief?

I should really have been paying closer attention to the responses I was meant to be participating in during the baptism service of the newest family member. I found it difficult to focus on the words printed in the order of service, whatever the reason for that was.

Father Joe was conducting the event for a reasonably large crowd of family members (there were two baptism running concurrently). It was the second time in the space of two months I’d found myself in a church.

I could participate in the responses but somehow didn’t feel comfortable doing so. I might have been happy to bob up and down at the Last Night of the Proms the night before, but I was hesitant saying the Lords Prayer. I just couldn’t bring myself to say it. If I didn’t believe it, how could I recite it? I’m a stickler, no doubt about that.

Father Joe was unexpectedly engaging and reassuring when it came to his mini-sermon mid-way through proceedings.

He drew attention to the gurgling and crying babies in the church. Don’t be irritated by them, welcome them into your lives. All children are welcome in God’s home. After all, that was the reason we were there anyway.

He expanded the point further, adding that when the children are crying in our lives, or in our homes or, indeed, anywhere near us, we shouldn’t ignore them. We shouldn’t tell them they shouldn’t cry just because it’s irritating or seemingly not appropriate to the surroundings they find themselves in. Allow them to express themselves. Engage with them. They are a part of the home, a part of your life.

Father Joe’s platitudes were, to a certain extent, lost on me. I have no children nor have the desire to father or parent any.

Still, his sincere delivery and engaging tone made me listen to his every word and left me thinking about the children I know and those I don’t.

Whilst the religious significance of his words still remains lost on me, the humanist implications of his sermon haven’t been.

Whatever it was I was suffering from before, during and after today’s family baptism, I’m left with the very strong thought that more of us should think more about those children around us who could well be trying to attracting our attention.

What do they need ? And can you help them?

(The picture above is the stained glass window I spied during Father Joe’s sermon earlier on today.)

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