This Sunday at 10 am we will celebrate the baptism of Hannah Harding. One of my favorite prayers is the prayer we say at the conclusion of every baptism.
Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon this your servants the forgiveness of sin, and have raised her to the new life of grace. Sustain her, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give her an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.
I especially appreciate the prayer for the gift of joy and wonder in all God’s works. We often associate joy and wonder with childhood, and because we so often baptize infants, it might be natural for us to assume that this prayer for the gift of joy and wonder is especially fitting for children. But the gift of joy and wonder is for all of us at every age and stage of development.
It is critical to our Christian life that we each reconnect daily with the joy and wonder of God’s works, not just for our children, but for ourselves. First and foremost reconnect with the mercy and love of Jesus, through whom we know that God is always present with us and more ready to help us that we are to to ask or pray.
It is easy to lapse into the habit of noticing and feeling more keenly what is wrong with life that what is right and good and joyful and wonderful. Sin and grief are real, but the grace, mercy, compassion, and justice of God outshine them as the sun outshines every cloud in the sky. So let us try to quickly repel any thought that some other power is greater in this world than the power of the love of God that has been poured into our hearts, and let us ask and pray especially for this gift of joy in God’s goodness to keep us on the path to eternal life that we have been set upon through baptism.
May God give you this day an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and love God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the gift of joy and wonder in all God’s works.