This week in the worship services we had the occasion to celebrate three baptisms. This is always a celebration! It represents the intentional desire on somebody’ part to make the community of faith bigger that it previously was. It means that our arms of welcome are stretched out to include someone new.
United Methodists baptize both infants and adults. It’s not that one way is correct and the other is not. Some churches, such as our Baptist friends, baptize individuals when they are able to make the decision to follow Jesus Christ. When an infant is baptized, it’s the parents that are proclaiming their faith and making a promise to raise the child so that faith may be passed on to the child. Later on, the child will still be invited to make a decision about faith in Jesus Christ and membership in the church. That’s what we call “Confirmation”. What the Baptists do all at one occasion, we often separate into two acts, or rather one act with two parts.
By having a young child baptized, the focus shifts a bit from the individual to the parents and the church that take on a role of raising up the child. It’s a wonderful promise we make:
We will surround this child with a community of love and forgiveness, that they may grow in their service to others. We will pray for them, that they may be true disciples who walk in the way that leads to life.
A church needs to be reminded regularly of that promise that stands at the heart of the Sacrament of Baptism. Saying the promise reminds us of the kind of life we are called to live together. It’s great to see the baby and the hope and joy she or he brings to the family, but it is even more wonderful to see a church that takes those promises seriously and lets them shape its life.
See you in church,
Things to pray for this week:
• For children who have been baptized. For youth starting confirmation classes, for parents and sponsors living out their promises they made in baptism.
• For Sunday School classes for children and youth, for Youth Fellowship, for Kids for Christ and Veggie Tales/Movie Night.