The United Methodist Church recognizes the two sacraments in which Christ himself participated: baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism joins Christians everywhere, and is a symbol of new life and forgiveness of sins. Persons of any age can be baptized once, and the method can be sprinkling, immersion or pouring. Through baptism we are joined with the church and with Christians everywhere.
In this video, MaryJane Pierce Norton reflects on the meaning of baptism and offers ways we can use the element of water as a daily reminder of this special gift.
MaryJane Pierce Norton, Discipleship Ministries (reads Service of Baptism):
Brothers and sisters in Christ, through the sacrament of baptism we are initiated into Christ's holy church. We are incorporated into God's mighty acts of salvation and given new birth through water and the spirit. All this is God's gift offered to us without price.
In baptism, we're walking into God's arms. We're walking through that door into God's presence that's there for us all the time, and that's God's grace.
God sees me in a fullness that I may never see myself but I know is there for me. If I don't have that action, if I don't see it enacted in my church time and time again, I can forget.
Baptism is one of the two sacraments we observe in The United Methodist Church. In Scripture, Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, and that action was an action of putting oneself right with God, and was taken by Christ even though Christ didn't need to take it. It was Christ claiming that identity as a human being, and that became the launching pad for Christ's ministry.
John Wesley saw baptism as a means of grace, a way in which we felt, knew, and saw God's grace. The water is the symbol of that. We see it as cleansing. We come through the water into claiming who we are as a child of God.
One of the tasks of Christians when we carry that into the home is to remind one another, for parents to say to children when they're giving them a bath or as they're brushing their teeth, "Look at the water. You know, when you were baptized, we used water because water helps us know that God cares for us and gives us life."
As we wash our hands for the first time of the day, do we use that time to say, "Thank you, God, for the abundance of grace that surrounds me and help me remember it's not just for me alone but for everybody that you claim as your child, and that means everybody in the world."
Baptism is not meant to be an alone act. It is an act of the body of Christ.
This meditation includes inspiring imagery taken by photographers and videographers from various United Methodist conferences and agencies. It is an excellent resource for online sharing, personal reflection, or group discussion. And this reflection about water is a great companion piece.
This video was first posted on Jan. 8, 2015. News media contact: Fran Walsh, 615-742-5458.