The conversation with the parents before the baptism included the following: Connecting the story of Jesus walking on the waters of the Sea of Galilee, and the use of water in the baptismal service: Water has always been understood as a symbol of life. Without it we die. The powerful message of the “Jesus, walking on water” story was and is that Jesus had the amazing ability to walk on top of life without fear of drowning. Instilling that confidence into the life of your child is one of the most important tasks of parents
Baptism is a symbol, reminding us that God has given us all the gift of life, and through the grace of Jesus Christ, all are united as one family. We are assured that we are a part of the eternal love of God. Those who participate in this symbol are marked for Christian discipleship, and are initiated into the fellowship of the Church. Jesus made it abundantly clear that children are important in the scheme of God’s creation. Remember how he said, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God”.
Do you affirm your faith in Jesus as the Christ”(response) We do.
Do you accept as your responsibility and privilege to demonstrate with your lives, the meaning of the Gospel; will you share with your child the meaning of the Christian faith and help him/her understand the connection of the Scriptures with the deeps of his/her life; and will you encourage him/her to participate in public worship and private devotions? (response) We will.
What is the child’s full name?
(full name), We baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
You, the family of (name of the church), I charge you with the responsibility of enabling these parents to honor the commitment they have made to God on behalf of their son/daughter and the world. Will you accept this responsibility?
(The congregational response, in unison) With God’s help, we will imitate the style of Jesus by caring for this child as a unique gift from God to the world. We will participate in teaching, nurturing, chastising, and forgiving him/her in order that he/she might come to love God, God’s world, and his/her neighbors. This is our commitment to God and this family.
Let us pray:
O Thou who continually remind us that you love your creation by sending us brand new possibilities in the form of daughters and sons, may (first name of the baptised) grow in his/her understanding of your grace. May he/she be sustained and renewed as he/she struggles to learn the meaning of faith and service. Lead us all as we assume the awesome responsibility of leading and molding another human life. Guide this child to an appreciation of his/her responsible place in your creation that will bring him/her the joy and peace which makes no sense except through the eyes of faith. In the name of Jesus, the Christ we pray. Amen.
The blessing of God, creator, preserver and sustainer, be with you all. Amen.
T. Mark Dove
Retired United Methodist pastor of the West Ohio Conference