For the big day, Jack wore a family christening gown, which was made out of Robert's great-great-grandmother's wedding gown. Mary wore it when she was christened, just as her brother and nephew wore it as well. We look forward to Jack's name being added (embroidered) to the inside hem of the gown among their names to mark this momentous occasion.
One of the things that made this day so very special was that Jack's grandfather Bill Hickling, a former elder at our church, had the privilege of reading a blessing which he personally wrote for Jack. I want to share this blessing with you all today, as it is simply too beautiful to miss out on. You couldn't help but feel the love in the room as Bill read the following words.
Heavenly Father, today we celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism of your servant, John Robert Hickling. Our hearts are filled with joy for Jack and his parents, Korey and Robert.
Today Jack has joined the body of Christ and has been touched by the Holy Spirit which flows now as it always has through Guilford Park Presbyterian Church, as it did over 24 years ago when his father and uncles were baptized together in this sanctuary.
We bow our heads in prayer to praise you and give thanks for the blessings and grace which you have bestowed on this church family.
We ask for your blessing and divine guidance as Jack begins his faith journey surrounded by his parents at the center of an ever enlarging group of intertwined circles of family, friends, co-workers, physicians, therapists, and families of children with Down Syndrome who form the fabric of love, care, and support that has enriched Jack's life and has given his parents great hope and joy.
Bless his parents. Give them patience, perseverance, judgment, and wisdom as they raise him to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. Bring them closer to you within this family of faith as they continue their own journeys of faith.
We ask blessing for those who have travelled great distances to worship God and bear witness to this joyful Sacrament. Guard and protect them as they travel back to their homes.
We ask blessing for those who could not be here today. We ask special blessing to Jack's grandfather Robert Cameron Christian, Bobby to his family, Big Daddy to his grandchildren. He would have celebrated his 61st birthday this week. He joined the Communion of Saints 6 1/2 years ago. We love and miss him. We feel his presence here today. We know how happy and proud he would be of Jack and his 6 other grandchildren.
Lord of all creation, we have faith that you are with us throughout our lives in times of joy and sorrow, and in times of trial. You reach out to us through Christ with your loving hands. Through the Holy Spirit help us to lead lives that walk towards the light and reach out to you. Amen.
Thank you so much, Pops, for your moving words today. And thank you to all of you who felt the urge to be present and bear witness to this very joful occasion. It's a day we'll never, ever forget.