Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Letter to Leif Alexander on the Occasion of His Baptism (21 August 2016)

As has been my custom since I became Rector of Saint Faith's, I have written a letter to Leif on the occasion of his baptism.  My hope is that some day, when he is older, he will read it himself and remember his baptism with thankfulness.

Click here to listen to the Letter as it was read at the Baptism on 21 August 2016.

21 August 2016

Dear Leif,

We have been waiting for this day ever since you were born.  Your friends at Saint Faith’s have been praying for you and for your family every Sunday.  Your grandmother, Wendy, has been letting us know how you are doing and we have celebrated every step of progress you have made.

Today you will be baptized into the Christian faith.  Some people think that baptism is only a moment in your life, but I believe that baptism is a life-time commitment to becoming who you are as God intends you to be.  Let me explain why.

Five hundred years ago there was a very famous sculptor named Michelangelo.  To this day people still marvel at the statues he made and they are impressed by their beauty and how they express our hopes and our fears, our strengths and our weaknesses.  When he was asked about how he went about his art of sculpting, he answered, ‘Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.’ 

What Michelangelo said about stone, I believe is true about human beings.  I believe that every human being is made in the image and likeness of God.  It is our life-long task to discover that image within us and to learn how to live into God’s likeness, so that God’s image in us becomes more clear for everyone around us to see and experience. 

Discovering God’s image within us is not always easy.  One of the best ways to discover God’s image within us is to live, worship and pray in a community that believes this.  We learn that when we hurt others, we have to acknowledge that we have hurt others, seek their forgiveness and God’s, so that we can grow.  We learn to forgive others, something that is not always easy to do.

With other Christians we share the good news with other people that we are loved by God and God’s love is best shown by helping others who are in any need or trouble.  Together with our friends and neighbours, whether they are Christians or not, we work towards a better world for all God’s creatures.

We can discover God’s image within us because we believe something that many people do not:  God loves us.  God is on our side as we face all the challenges this world brings to us.  You and I, with all your Christian sisters and brothers, have been called by God to share this truth, so that all God’s children can be free to live their lives in hope and confidence.

Leif, you and I will spend our whole lives discovering who we are.  Every day, rain or shine, God chips away at us to reveal the beauty that is within us.  What gives us the confidence to be patient with God’s chipping at is our confidence that we are and will be God’s work of art. 

God has loved you since your heart first started to beat and your mother and father knew you were on the way into this world.  God has loved you during these first months as you and your family and the medical staff worked to make you stronger and healthier.  God has loved you through the prayers of Saint Faith’s and all the people who kept you in their thoughts, their hearts and their prayers.

Now you come to be baptized.  Today you will begin your life-long journey of discovery.  I hope that you will make this journey in the company of your Christian family as well as in the company of your own family.  May each day of your life reveal a bit more of God’s image within you, so that we can all marvel at the work of art you are and rejoice to see what you will become.

Always your friend in Christ,


(The Rev’d Dr) Richard Geoffrey Leggett

Rector of Saint Faith’s Anglican Church

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