This month we are celebrating seven baptisms among our young people for which we give praise and thanks to God. Seven young people who are committing their lives to follow Jesus and are making that public declaration through the waters of baptism. We are also fare-welling Riley and Naomi who are similarly committing to follow Jesus by responding to his call to go and serve his people down at Victor Harbor Baptist Church. Riley has invested much in those seven young people being baptised, but they are not being baptised to follow Riley. They are committing to follow Jesus who gave his life for them. Pondering all these events has reminded me that each of us, no matter how far along the journey of faith we are, have to choose each day to follow Jesus. Whether we have just been baptised, or like Laurel who is still following Jesus well into her 90’s, we must choose each day to live our lives for him. Relationships are never static and each day is a day of new engagement with Jesus just as it is with each of our friends or spouses or family.
Jesus call continues to be “follow me” whether we are young or old, new in the faith or seasoned travellers. To be a disciple means to be a follower and that is a lifelong calling. But every relationship can grow cold and even long term friendships and marriages can rely too much on the past rather than the present. Even as a Senior Pastor I have to choose to follow Jesus each day and to be present to him and make spending time with him a priority while working in a church! In fact, at times serving the church can get in the way of my relationship with Jesus in a weird sort of way. I can be a busy Christian and Pastor who is actually not daily following Jesus and listening to him.
So we celebrate and rejoice as our young people declare through the waters of baptism that they are committing their lives to follow Jesus. And we celebrate and rejoice (with some sadness) as Riley and Naomi follow Jesus call to Victor Harbor. But we also need to choose, each and every one of us, to daily say yes to following Jesus. Yes to following him whole heartedly. Yes to being available to him each and every day. Yes to being ready to share our story with those who are seeking. Yes to serving people around us and loving them as part of our love for God. The call of Jesus to the first disciples washing their nets on the sea of Galilee is exactly the same call he gives to you and I – Follow me!
Grace and peace - Garry