The Shape of Worship 11: The Waters of Baptism

For Meditation

When we celebrate baptism in our corporate worship, we may find ourselves to be spectators as we gaze at adorable babies, proud parents and beaming grandparents. Yes, the church is a family that spans generations and continually welcomes newcomers. Baptism signals our being marked as members of God’s community and beginning our faith journey with God.

But as worshippers, we are called to participate, too. The gathered congregation bears witnesses to what God is doing in that moment through water, word and Spirit.  But we also join with the parents in taking vows to uphold and support this new member of the Body of Christ as we all seekto follow Jesus more and more completely.  We are all part of the family into whom the new child of God is welcomed.  Finally, and more personally, we also remember that each of us in Christ has also been welcomed, washed, filled by the Spirit, and adopted into God’s family. More and more churches are emphasizing the importance of remembering what God has done for us with liturgies of “renewing your baptism” and “remembering your baptism.”

Our Reformed catechisms and Presbyterian confessions teach us that baptism is a sign and seal of God’s grace mediated in Christ Jesus. Baptism is the public sign that marks disciples as having turned from sin and toward Christ. For our little ones, the sacrament signals that they are engaged on a journey of faith toward this turning point and the abundant life that follows our trusting in Christ. All of us who were baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ and are part of one unified community. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus, and heirs according to the promise.

Our weekly Worship Guide can be downloaded by clicking the image below.

Guest Speakers this Week:

Joining us in worship at 8:45 and 11:15 will be Jill Carattini and Nathan Rittenhouse, who are part of the Ravi Zacharias International apologetics ministry. During the 10:00 hour Jill and Nate will be speaking about the importance of cultural apologetics--giving reasons for the hope we have in Christ via the arts, storytelling, and creation care conversations. If you'd like to learn more about this new emphasis in the work of many of today's most successful apologetic and evangelistic ministries (and hear some great stories), join us in room 213 from 10:00 to 11:00 this Sunday morning. 

Genesis 17:7-11 (NRSV)

7 I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God.’

9 God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.

Acts 2:36-41 (NRSV)

36 Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.’ 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ 38 Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.’40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ 41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

Mark 1:9-11 (NRSV)

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’