Listen again to BBC Radio Ulster Thought For The Day

Today is an extremely important day in my life. Just after 11 o’clock this morning I will have the privilege of baptising my granddaughter, Suzanna. 

It’s something I look forward to with joy and expectation – my eldest daughter and son-in-law standing before the congregation along with their boy Ezra, making public confession of their faith in Jesus Christ and seeking the blessing of the Lord on their little one’s life. 

Suzanna will know nothing about what’s happened to her anymore than she will remember how her mum and dad washed her, fed her or nurtured her. But that’s the point. 

Receiving God’s blessing has little to do with our capability and everything to do with God’s ability. 

Away back in the book of Genesis God made a promise to a man called Abram.It was a promise of grace. God said, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you. I will make your name great and you will be a blessing and all the peoples on earth would be blessed through you” and Abram, we’re told, took God at his word and believed. 

They trusted what the Lord had said and at just the right moment and precisely the right time, their promised son Isaac was born. 

When he was 8 days old, Isaac received God’s covenant sign of circumcision and from that point on he was literally “marked out” as belonging to God, a privilege he could either grow up to enjoy or a curse he could choose to spurn. He chose the way of life. 

In the New Testament book of Colossians the Apostle Paul brings together the Old Testament sign of circumcision and the sacrament of baptism, for both speak in similar ways of God’s astonishing, undeserved grace – something God does for us not because we’re deserving, but because we’re loved. 

Both circumcision and baptism speak of the cleansing blood of the Lord Jesus which was shed in order to wash away all out sin. Both point to the new life that can be found in Christ alone and both remind us to whom we belong. 

It’s a privilege we can either accept with joy or reject with contempt and so as I eagerly anticipate the responsibility of administering the covenant sign of baptism to my granddaughter Suzanna, it is my earnest prayer that not only will she be richly blessed by God, but just like Isaac the son of the covenant she and many others will choose to be a blessing to all the peoples of this earth.

– Frank Sellar