1 Timothy 6.6-19
It’s such a joy to welcome E and N together with their parents, godparents and friends on this very special occasion. It is a celebration for us here at All Saints as we gather as a community and part of the world-wide church. We are here to support them as we learn together more about what it means to be a friend of Jesus and to become more like him.
Our first reading is part of a letter of St Paul to a young disciple called Timothy. Paul met him on his travels as he was preaching about Jesus. He was obviously very impressed with Timothy and invited him to accompany him as he visited various towns. He was a mentor to Timothy, very much a father figure, maybe even a bit like a godparent. What we have here is some of the advice he gave him in order to help him teach others about the Christian faith.
It struck me how similar this to the promises and commitments that Ni’s and E’s parents and godparents will make shortly on behalf of their children and that we will make as we promise our support.
And essentially, it’s all about priorities and relationships. Who or what is the most important thing in our lives. Paul tells Timothy not to rely on monetary riches. However he’s not talking about money itself, but how we use it. It’s the LOVE of money that is the cause of so many evil things – very pertinent at the moment given the Government’s latest budget, which offers little support to those most in need.
We see Paul guiding Timothy in his ministry to the church in Ephesus. These are the words of a wise and older man, who clearly cares deeply about Timothy, as a parent would. Paul lists some of the qualities expected by those who embrace the values of God’s kingdom – love and gentleness, faith and endurance; a willingness to ‘fight the good fight’ – a military metaphor, one which suggests absolute loyalty to the commanding officer, but here Paul means God and Jesus Christ.
Above all this is about our relationship with God whose love is unconditional; it’s about deepening that relationship, so that we can have a deeper understanding of the values of God’s kingdom. And that requires time and effort like any relationship. This is something we can do together. We can read the Bible together and share our thoughts. We can worship together and share bread and wine together. We can pray together. We can work together to serve those in our community who need some support. I know many here already do these things, quietly and unobtrusively wherever they find themselves. Many of us learnt during the times of lockdown that we need each other. We were not created to live in isolation, but to serve one another.
For E and N, this is the beginning of an exciting journey. It’s a lifelong journey. Some of us have been travelling somewhat longer. Whatever stage we are at, it is a journey that leads to life in God’s kingdom.
The Revd Jackie Lock, Associate Priest