summer solstice!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Baptism

Currently I'm not working on any new blogs, so over the next few days or weeks I'll be posting some (really really!) old lessons I did for the late elementary age youth in our release time Christian Education program. Baptism seems to be the theologically correct way to begin!

B A P T I S M

WHAT IS IT?

A Covenant Event: God, the person entering the waters of baptism, and a local church promise to live together as family, to walk together in faith, and to be responsible for one another. In baptism we also covenant with the whole people of God in every time and place: past, present and future.

A Sacrament or "means of grace": at the direct command of Jesus, people put together the Word of God from the Bible and created matter in order to bring us God's love in a special way.

A liturgical action of the church and our act of worship as a community.

A Sign of the presence of God's Kingdom.

WHO?

Everyone, everywhere: Matthew 28:16-20

Jesus was baptized in oneness, "solidarity" with us. Mark 1:9-11

We are baptized!

WHEN?

Throughout the history of the Church

One time only for each person

Different traditions or branches of the Church baptize people at different ages. Usually, if a church baptizes teenagers or adults, a person becomes a full church member upon baptism. Usually, if a church baptizes babies or children, a person needs to be confirmed in order to become a full member, although whatever the practice, in itself baptism is complete and requires nothing additional.

WHERE?

Where God's people are meeting together for worship in a local Christian community. It can be in a house, an old storefront, a more conventional, traditional worship space, at the beach... Baptism usually happens during a regularly scheduled worship service, most frequently on a Sunday morning.

WHY?

Because Jesus said to: Matthew 28:16-20

Because it is a means of grace

Because an individual and/or their parents desire baptism

Because baptism is the way we formally become part of the Church, the Body of Christ

HOW?

Within a local Christian congregation

With water (what are some of the uses of water?) and a "Trinitarian formula": Matthew 28:19

WHAT HAPPENS?

We partake of Jesus' death and resurrection: Romans 6:3-4

We become part of a local Christian assembly and part of the whole Church of Jesus Christ, worldwide.

Baptism becomes part of our individual story as one of God's people, and makes us part of the history of the entire people of God.

Question: Does baptism "save" us? Mark 16:16; Romans 10:10

AFTER BAPTISM?

Because we belong to God's servant family, we take part in the work of God's people:
  • Worship
  • Learning and teaching about God in Jesus Christ
  • Telling and showing other about Jesus and the Church
  • Serving others in a variety of ways

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