This is a special week in the life of the Ascension. Little Lydia, daughter of Jennie and Frank, will be baptised into the family of the church. Her baptism will be celebrated by Lindiwe, the sermon will be preached by Miriam and I will celebrate. Three women ministers to welcome a baby girl into the church: it's a powerful statement of how far women have come in the church of England. Just twenty-five years ago this could not have happened, and the Ascension played its part in bringing about the change that made it possible for women to take their place in the priesthood and the ministry of the church.
Congratulations to Lydia and welcome to her family, who have travelled some distance to visit us, especially those who have come from Germany. It's a great occasion!
We have now left the season of Epiphany and have three Sundays of Ordinary Time before we move into Lent. It's a little breathing space for us, time to reconnect with the everyday business of being Christians before we turn our faces towards the long road to Jerusalem, Calvary and Easter. Over these three Sundays we are preaching a short sermon series on the Trinity, with this Sunday focusing on God as Father/creator/parent/sustainer. Next week I will preach on God the Word/the Son/the child/the redeemer and Lindiwe will wrap the series up with a sermon on God the Holy Spirit on February 24th.
Trying to preach on the Holy Mystery that is the Trinity is always a challenge. It's a metaphor for life, life in relationship and love as the driving force of life, but it's also an indication of what the divine presence we call God is really all about - eternal and life-giving, before whom we bow, but also by whom we are intimately loved. I'm looking forward to it.