The Reading: John 3:1-15
“… unless one is born anew,” (v. 3) RSV
In the play ‘As you like it’ Shakespeare wrote: “All the world’s a stage”. And the players are men and women whose acts are “seven ages”. The first is that of an Infant.
Over the next weeks we will consider the seven stages or ages of being a follower of Christ. The first involves our birth into the Faith. As Jesus said to Nicodemus, “unless one is born anew (or, from above) one cannot see the kingdom of God” (v.3).
It has wisely been said that God has no grandchildren. Each one of us has to become a child of God. This decision may have been made for us when we were tiny, but has been subsequently confirmed by ourselves at a later date, or it may have happened later in life. But whenever it happens it needs to have happened.
We don’t have to be able to remember our birth. Who does? But we need to know that we have been born and are alive! We are not born Christians, we become Christians. The word of God (that is, his ‘seed’) enters into us and by the Holy Spirit causes us to be born again.
Not all of us have had a conversion experience. No matter. That is not the same as new birth. Conversion happens when we are brought up short and turn away from our old life. Those brought up in the faith may have no need to do that. But new birth is essential for all. Sadly even religious and knowledgeable Nicodemus didn’t understand it.
As infants in Christ we will then need nurturing. We cannot sustain ourselves; we are weak and vulnerable. Christian fellowship (the Church) and those who will mother/father us are essential to our spiritual survival. We need encouragement and protection.
Thank you Lord that you protect your infant children. Strengthen and feed me, O Lord, that I may grow up to serve you. Amen.
1 What do infants require?
1 Peter 2:2
2 Some who have been Christians a while are still infants.