Today, a special little girl of our congregation was baptized. Baptisms are always an emotional moment for me in the life of our church - they are so hopeful and such a good reminder of our role as a faith community. This one especially so, because of the unique story of this family.
I was also mindful that today is International Women's Day, and so the baptism of this little girl seemed very apt. And it made me realize that in our tradition, the baptisms of little girls and little boys are no different - no different words are said, no different prayers are read - they are the same whether it is a boy or a girl, a women or a man being baptized.
To me, this is a true and right way to show that we are all called equally to grow and participate in the body of Christ, which is the church. We are all called to participate in the ministry of the church, regardless of whether we are male or female. And indeed, Jesus' ministry demonstrated the full respect and compassion that he had for all people - both men and women.
We are lucky to be members of a denomination that recognizes the leadership of women. (Just as we are lucky to be members of a church led by two wonderful women leaders!) On this International Women's day, it is my prayer that the holy catholic church (note the small c - in which we professed our faith this morning by saying the Apostles Creed following the baptismal prayers) embrace the leadership of women in all its forms. This, I think, is a necessary step for the global acceptance of women's rights and the respect of our bodies.
But I know, at least, the little girl that our community baptized today will be able grow and flourish within our church into the women she is meant to be, contributing her talents to the ministry of Christ. I pray that she will be able to do the same in all the realms of her life – and we have a role in making that a reality, in Jesus' name.