This week we are receiving three people into membership on profession of faith, one of them will be baptized by full immersion first. The three new members have come to this moment of decision after participating in an Emmaus Course.
(We haven't got a baptistry and so we have arranged for the local fire-brigade to come along with a tank and fill it for us from one of their tenders! - it really is life-saving water!)
Naturally I want to focus on the journey of faith, and it seems to me that the Peter reading and the idea of "Living Stones" gives me an ideal opportunity. The address will proceed in an ad-lib kind of a fashion in three stages as follows.
We have all been on a journey of faith since the day we were born. When we look back over our lives we can see how God has taken us by the hand. When we look back we can see many incidents and experiences we have had that have deepened our understanding of God and the world and we can remember particular people whose lives have stood out and been an example for us - beacons of light.
These have all been stepping stones on the journeys that have led Claire, Jan and Darren to this service of committment. Christian Faith is a journey, it is not about one decision or one moment in time. It is a journey we are all on, and it is a journey that lasts a lifetime and beyond.
There are events in the journey of faith that are like Milestones. One of them is Baptism. Darren and Janice were baptized as infants, and their families will remember that milestone best. Claire has been baptized today, and I guess we will all remember that for a long time!
For all of them the decision to become members here today is a significant milestone. It is a decision to live out their Christian Faith in the company of this fellowship of believers here at St. George's.
And what is that Christian Faith? Over several weeks on the Emmaus Course we have looked at the story of the Prodigal Son and used it to try to understand the core of the Christian Gospel - the Good News.
| God made us
God loves us
God wants the best for us
|We were created to know God
But we have turned away from God
We have rejected his love
|God sent his son, Jesus, to draw us back to him
Through Jesus' life and death and rising again, we are offered:
|We need to respond to God's offer - to his grace
We need to find a way to say YES to God!
Becoming a member of the church is not an individual act, it is a corporate act. A cairn is a pile of stones, usually at the top of a hill. The whole point of a cairn is that people who have passed this way before are saying - I've been here too, I've been on the same journey as you.
A company of Christians is a body of people who are committed to one another and united in Christ. They can say to one another - there are places in your faith-journey where I have been and there are places in my faith-journey where you have been, let's travel together and discover some more!