The Church gives birth to the Church every day, says the Venerable Bede (673-735), as he ponders how the Church continually moves as a body through history. The Church is not only, or primarily an institution or organisation. Rather, and, more profoundly, the Church is formed and reformed each day through the gift and the power of the Holy Spirit as a communion of persons. This movement of our daily re-birth is given expression in one striking way at the baptistery in our Cathedral. Through the beautiful figures of a mother and child in movement with one another, the sculpture at the Cathedral depicts the new birth of the Church each day as it is related to our baptism. As each of us is given new life by water and the Holy Spirit at baptism we are clothed in Jesus Christ and drawn into life as the Church. Each day, in unity with all those who are baptised, we are both mother and child. Together, through the Holy Spirit, we are mother Church who gives birth to how the Church will be alive in our world as the body of Christ. However, we are also, each of us child, given new life by the Church so that we might live out our baptismal mission to proclaim the good news and bring healing to our world.
As we celebrate the feast of the Lord’s baptism today, we celebrate our own. Our celebration of Christmas does not end with the infant Jesus, but with the adult Jesus being baptised and beginning his saving mission. We who have been baptised with his Spirit take up the work of salvation, continuing his mission in, with and for our world. We are in Christ through our baptism, and as we come up out of the waters of baptism see the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending each day, we too hear the voice from heaven directed to all the children of God. You are my child, the Beloved, my favour rests on you. Fr David