Acts 9: 17 – 18
“Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me (Ananias) so that you can regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18 At once something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. 19 And after taking some food, he regained his strength.
When Patrick was an old man he was of course renowned throughout Ireland for his piety and good works (whether that included expelling snakes is still open to debate). He was welcome at all the courts of the various Kings in the land including that of the King of Ulster who although always happy to receive Patrick had not himself converted to the Christian faith. The Kings wife came from a Christian household and had raised their children in the faith and eventually between Patrick and her the King saw the light and asked Patrick if he would baptise him which of course he agreed to do.
Being a King meant that it had to be a big production all the lore so when the King announced that all his courtiers and their families would also be Baptised at the same time. Patrick agreed and suggested that as a token of humility that the King might like to be the last one to be baptised an idea he readily accepted. In those days Baptism normally took place on Easter morning with the baptisees and baptiser attending a service on Good Friday then Fasting and praying through to Sunday so the King and Patrick were hungry and tired as the long service began.
Both of them stood next to the font where Patrick’s assistants did the actual immersion then the saint proclaimed the Blessing and laid a hand on the newly Baptised heads. He began to feel very tired and as the service progressed he lent more and more heavily on his Crozier It was only when the King’s turn came and he moved that Patrick realized that all this time the pointed end of his Crozier staff had been on the King’s foot, and the king was now limping on a very bloody foot towards the immersion site.
Full of remorse (and possibly fear) Patrick went to apologise for drawing royal blood but the king waved him away saying he had assumed it was part of his penance for his former heathen lifestyle!
I have Christened well over 200 people of various ages in the last 20 years not as many as it would have been in the previous 20 but we are where we are. Some were memorable for various reasons, my grandchildren obviously, a pair of 2 year old twins, the girl I had been warned about was likely to be uncooperative but she was fine her brother on the other hand kicked my ribs vigorously and constantly throughout. Thankfully I never had to carry out a hospital Christening like so many of my predecessors did on a regular basis for sickly and weak babies.
Most have been babies or toddlers but quite a few have been adults, the oldest a lady in her sixties and once it was a mother in her thirties, her two sons of twelve and six plus a new baby. I am pleased to say that never once did I have to give a baby back to the parents because it was crying!
There is always debate about whether Baptism should be administered only to adult believers only or to children as well. There is strong Biblical authority for infant baptism as well as passages like this one concerning Saul/Paul, the Phillipian guard and several others. .
Paul renewed his strength after his baptism and I am sure the spiritual strength it gives has helped many since.
Lord God our loving Father in Heaven, you call us to make disciples throughout the World, and as an outward sign of your acceptance of all we Baptise in your name. Help us to value the treasure our baptism has given us so that it may enrich our lives.
In your Mercy hear our prayer,