Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:3-6)
This morning we continued our series, More and Less by exploring the sacrament of baptism. While the Apostle Paul wrote to the early church that there is “one Lord, one faith and one baptism,” the sad reality is that throughout church history, rather than unifying the Body of Christ, the sacrament of baptism might instead be called, “the waters that divide.”
Allow me to make mention of two elements of our worship gathering. The first is a new song from Chris Tomlin, Rebuen Morgan and Ben Glover called “Jesus Loves Me.” This is a potent and highly personal song of affirmation and you can learn more about the backstory of the song and enjoy an acoustic performance at New Song Cafe.
The second element was a brief liturgy designed to help our community remember their baptisms and be thankful. In crafting this liturgy, I drew from a number of sources and our goal was to help our community experience afresh in a tangible way, the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
What do the words, “remember your baptism and be thankful” stir within you?
Here is the liturgy:
Remembering Our Baptism
Leader: We are taught that in baptism we are welcomed into the family and household of God, raised to new life in Christ and nurtured in the Holy Spirit. In response to the call of Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit, many of you have given yourself to God through profession of faith and baptism. We share in the story of God’s mighty acts of salvation, and we receive new birth through water and the Spirit. These are the gifts of God, offered freely to all. Let us renew the covenant declared at our baptism, acknowledging what God is doing in, through, and for us, and affirming our commitment to Christ’s holy Church.
All: Holy God, we thank you for the gift of water. Over it your Spirit hovered at the creation of the world. Through it you led the children of Israel out of bondage and into the Promised Land. In the fullness of time you sent Jesus, who was nurtured in the water of Mary’s womb. And in it, Jesus was baptized and recognized as your beloved child.
Leader: We thank you for the water of Baptism. In it we are buried, sharing in Christ’s death. By it we share also in Christ’s resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the power of the Holy Spirit as your sons and daughters. Now bless this water, we pray, by the power of your Holy Spirit. May it remind us that we have been cleansed from sin and born again into new life, that we may remain faithful until we are united with you in the life to come. Amen.
I invite you join in the renewal of your baptismal vows.
Do you in the presence of God and this community of faith desire to renew the promises, which you made or were made for you at your baptism? (I do).
Do you renounce evil and seek to walk in the life of faith as a person who trusts in God alone for life, strength and salvation? (I do).
Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Savior of the world; and do you declare him Lord of your life? (I do).
Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? (I will, with God’s help).
Will you see and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? (I will, with God’s help).
All: We come out of many traditions. We have confessed many understandings of baptism: sacrament, symbol, sign. Some of us were baptized before we remembe r.Others only later when we said, “I believe.” Whether immersed, poured upon or sprinkled, it is your action, gracious God, which defines our baptism. Having put off the old nature, we have been clothed with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female. For we all are one in Christ Jesus – your sons and daughters through faith, heirs to the promise. Old things have passed away. Behold, you make all things new.
Leader: This rite is an ancient way to recall for us of the gracious act of God by which we enter into Christ, are raised to walk in newness of life, and become a part of God’s family. During this song, you are invited to come to one of the stations at each side of the church to touch the water, remember your baptism and be thankful.
Here is our complete worship flow:
- Our Great God (Fernado Ortega)
- Psalm 62
- Salvation IS Here (Hillsong)
- You Alone Can Rescue (Matt Redman)
- Unison Prayer of Thanksgiving
- Announcements and Offering
- Message (More and Less: Baptism)
- Remembering our Baptism
- Jesus Loves Me (Chris Tomlin)
You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.