A sermon based on Genesis 1:1-5 and Mark 1:4-11 preached on January 11th, 2015.
Today, we’re taking the moment together in worship to renew and reclaim our baptismal vows.
It doesn’t matter if your parents brought you to the waters as an infant and had you baptized before you knew it or if you came to the water as an adult and proclaimed with your own voice your faith in Jesus Christ, we are all invited today to proclaim once again our identity as daughters and sons of God, and to reaffirm our intentions to live our lives as faithful and willing and active disciples of Jesus.
It is through these waters that God has invited us to become a part of a greater whole.
The waters of baptism are adoption waters. They are a sign and a symbol that God has claimed as God’s own.
There’s a few things that baptism is not.
Baptism isn’t a ticket to the afterlife, it’s more like an envelope handed to us by a travel agent—a letter sent to you in the mail from God. We are the ones who have to open that envelope, and we are the ones who embark upon the journey.
Baptism isn’t an end in itself, it’s more like the very start of new relationship.
And thirdly, baptism doesn’t enhance sacredness, it acknowledges it. We are already blessed as God’s sons and daughters. But it is through our baptism that we seek to find out what that blessing is for.
It is because of the call of our baptism that we take the time to participate in the life of the Church—faithfully gathering, knowing that as we gather regularly as a faith community, God will shape us into who God wants us to be.
There’s one word we can use to sum all of that up: “belong”.
We are not just baptized. We are baptized into something. Through these waters, we become a part of something bigger than ourselves. With the waters of baptism we claim that we belong to God and to community.
And it is here we gather today on Baptism of our Lord Sunday, around these waters to bless each other as daughters and sons of the living God, and to pledge to one another our intentions to be a part of a people–to embark together on a journey—faithfully gathering together along the way, supporting one another in the life of faith, and to recommit ourselves, body, mind, heart, and soul, and presence, to the faithful pursuit of discipleship.
Come, and be a part. Let us come to the waters.
Reaffirming Our Baptism
Litany of Scripture
1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 17
Just as one body has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
For in the one Spirit we are all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Know that the Lord your God is God,
the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love God and keep God’s commandments.
Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Statement about Baptism
Profession of Faith
Do you renounce evil and the powers in the world which defy God’s righteousness and love?
I renounce them.
Do you renounce the ways of sin that separate you from the love of God?
I renounce them.
Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Lord and Savior, trusting in his grace and love?
Will you be Christ’s faithful disciple, following his Word and showing his love, to your life’s end?
I will, with God’s help.
Will you rededicate yourself to the mission and ministry of this church, faithfully and regularly attending worship and actively pursuing opportunities for service, mission, and discipleship here at Kuhn Memorial?
Confession of Faith Using the Words of the Apostles’ Creed
With the whole Church, let us confess our faith. Do you believe in God the Father?
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Prayer of Thanksgiving for Baptism
Invitation to the Waters
Coming to the Waters
You’re invited to:
- Dip Your Hand in the Waters
As music is played, you will be invited to walk up to the table at the front of the sanctuary to dip your hand in the waters to remember your baptism and to renew your commitment to discipleship.
- Take a River Stone
You are invited to take a stone from either the bottom of the bowl or from the cup of stones next to it. This stone signifies for you that you are God’s own and you have been called through your baptism to be a part of God’s church here at Kuhn Memorial and in and for the world.
- Light a Tea Light
You are invited to light a tea light to signify the Holy Spirit that descended upon Jesus and upon you at your baptism. It still burns within us who have been baptized.
As we process, we will sing Down to the River to Pray – Insert