In our lesson from the Acts of the Apostles, while Peter is speaking the Holy Spirit comes upon everyone listening, Gentiles included. The reality of this is so clear that Peter says, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” This is a powerful reminder that baptism into the household of God is open to all—young, old, rich, poor, outsiders and insiders and aliens. The font is open to all who are led there by the Spirit.
Our lessons from I John and John’s gospel focus on the pattern of the believer’s life, keeping the faith. It is a pattern and way of living grounded in love. Love leads us to obey God’s commandments, and in keeping these commandments we live in love. In doing this, we follow Jesus, who says to his disciples and to us, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” His command is not burdensome, and we are given strength to keep it by the friendship we share with him and in him. “I have called you friends,” Jesus says, not servants any longer. “You did not choose me, but I chose you.”
As we gather this Sunday to worship God and renew our promises to live in love and fellowship with one another and share the Good News of God in Christ with the world, we will also be strengthening the bonds of our friendship in Christ as we welcome young Burton into God’s household.