'Baptism' or 'christening' will be much in the news tomorrow because of a certain event involving the British royal household. I was encouraged by this well made video. Justin Welby can't say in just over 5 minutes all that could be said about Christian baptism, but it's a welcoming introduction. I would recommend any new parent wondering about baptism/christening for their child or themselves to take a look at it as a starter. (You can read more about Christian baptism as practised in the Church of England here.)
A yearning to mark significant life events with rituals involving family and friends is a universal human need. For those with some belief in God there is often a desire for "bringing God into the middle of it all", whether that is for a birth, marriage or death. God is already there of course but we often need help in articulating and knowing that. And we need help to turn towards God who is always drawing us to himself.
That generously offered help, that unmerited grace of God, is part of what the Christian sacrament of Holy Baptism signifies. Help to constantly to turn away from evil, turn towards Christ and grow in Christian faith, is part of what the church, the community of Christian faith is able to provide.
The theology of baptism, who, when and how baptism should be received is an area of much debate between Christians, which I am not going to explore in this short post. Justin Welby quotes some words from the Church of Scotland at the end of his video about the royal baptism. I think all Christians could agree that these truths apply to all children, whether baptised or not:
For you Jesus Christ came into the world.
For you he lived and showed God's love.
For you he suffered the darkness of Calvary
and cried out at the last, 'it is accomplished'.
For you he triumphed over death and rose to new life.
For you he reigns at God's right hand.
All this he did for you,
though you do not know it yet.
May Prince George discover that for himself.