All of this helps us see Baptism as an important beginning, both for Jesus, and for us.
Posts Tagged ‘Baptism’
A faith chest allows us to look back, as often as we need, at the parts of our spiritual lives. This home practice offers tips and advice and links.
If you are looking for a book to explore baptism with individuals or groups, check out Journey into Baptism by Helen Barron (Candlepress, 2014). This book, which is also available digitally, would be helpful for parents and godparents, confirmands, and those seeking baptism for themselves.
The process of handing on our faith is all about experience. It is an experience of building a relationship with Jesus, lived out in community. Being formed in faith into the life of a community is not about sitting at a desk and readying a text, but growing in faith with one another in the name of Jesus.
Individuals and families come together through the waters of baptism to form a new family – a family of God to support, strengthen, and encourage each other on the journey. A journey that allows for the opening up to the fullness of the gifts given and ultimately leads towards an ever transfiguring likeness of the Risen Christ.
As soon as the abundant clear water was slowly poured from a large glass pitcher into the font, and the priest with both hands touching the water blessed it, and breathed the breathe of New Life into it; Oliver began to lean toward the font and carefully followed the invitation to put his head closer to the water.
The writer of Genesis harbored a wider vision that included saving more than only humans. That writer did something else as well. He placed the emphasis of this story entirely elsewhere, on the divine vow never again to destroy; Noah makes no promises at all.
My own baptism at age thirteen was not something that was perfunctory. I can still remember the day my father talked to me about my need to be baptized. I was sitting in the kitchen of the Baptist parsonage where we lived, snacking on cookies and drinking a Coke.
One sticky Louisiana day, we headed out . . . hoping to catch our dinner. When we arrived to the pasture, I realized very quickly that we were not alone. The pasture was FULL of cows – and they were looking right at me. They were. I promise. I decided that I wasn’t in the mood to fish.
There I stood by the tub with two shivering little girls, cowering in the corner – as if naked and ashamed in the Garden of Eden. The older one became the tearful spokes person as she stammered out their heartfelt question, “Mother, do you still love us?”
Confirmation, to the degree that it is relational, is about the relationship between the candidate, who is renewing baptismal promises, and the Lord into whom she was baptized.
A covenant, as described in the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church is “a bond entered into voluntarily by two parties by which each pledges himself to do something for the other.” Seems like a bargain to me!
We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water. Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation. Through it you led the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt into the land of promise. In it your Son Jesus received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us, through his death and resurrection, from the bondage of sin into everlasting life.
It didn’t take long for Jacob to discover the water in the font. I merely whispered to him, “This is the baptismal font,” and allowed him to touch the water. It was no surprise that he would want to submerge his hand into the water, but I was not prepared for what would come next.
This same Spirit that we call the Holy Spirit, hovers again over the waters of baptism – where the Light of the Risen Christ has brought a New Order and offers New Life to all of creation – yet to be realized – but always available and becoming.
Three month old Jeremy might have felt some sense of identity with the Holy Child whose part he played – as he too was a “child of love” of his betrothed parents now married some nine months before – on what by co-incidence or perhaps Divine Providence happened to be the Feast Day of the Annunciation.
The ministry of the church grows from a single shared root. We are not born as “ordained ministers” vs. “lay ministers”. We are born as children of God all of whom have a ministry given to us at baptism.
When we say, “I believe in God . . .” we are saying “I give my heart to God.” We are expressing a desire to be in relationship with God. Which God? “The God who made heaven and earth.” The God who loves us so much he gave his only son to show us how to live and even die on the cross. It is the God who conquered death in the resurrection and gave us the Holy Spirit so that we will continue to know God’s love.
International World Water Day is held annually on March 22nd as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
Baptism has its roots in ancient practices that preceded Christianity. Jewish rituals of purification were centered on the cleansing of the body with water. Many Jewish customs found their way into the initiation rites of the Early Church.