BAPTISM AT PARK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The sacrament of Baptism is God’s sign of sealing the promises of faith. The Living Water often mentioned in Scripture is represented in the warm waters of Baptisms. Water cleanses, water nourishes, water renews, water quenches thirst, water brings life and growth. Therefore Baptisms are part of worship and are offered when the community worships together.
The sacrament of Baptism is a participation in the death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection. As we feel the waters over our head so we enter the death of Jesus; as we rise out of the water we die to what separates us from God and are raised to newness of life in Christ. Baptism will continually point us back to the grace of God. As Moses and the Israelites passed through the waters on dry ground and escaped slavery, so too do we pass through the water to the other side to find safe ground. The community of Israel undertook a life of service to God an exclusive worship as a community, sharing life in which love, justice, and mercy abounded. Baptism points us toward living in Christ who leads us to fulfill God’s promises.
Other biblical links to Baptism:
o The water of Baptism symbolizes the waters of Creation
o Of the Flood
o The Exodus from Egypt
o The Prophets’ call for justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like ever flowing streams
o Jesus offered the gift of living water and a drink that would end thirst
The sacrament of Baptism is an outward sign or symbol of God’s grace and is also our response to grace given in Jesus. Therefore those bringing their child or themselves to the baptismal waters have responsibilities to:
• profess their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, be it a first step or a celebration of years of profession. Baptism is a witness to the workings of God in our lives.
• renounce evil and affirm their reliance on God’s grace. This becomes a life time habit of confession and active acceptance of God’s assurance of pardon.
• declare their intention to participate in the life and mission of the worshiping community.
The sacrament of Baptism is a community responsibility. As witnesses to the resurrected Lord we promise to offer support, encouragement, nurture, education, and partnership with the baptized. For we are all on the same journey and benefit from the insights all the saints bring.
The sacrament of Baptism crosses boundaries and becomes our commonality with all who call upon the name of Christ. Barriers of race, gender, status, and age are leveled in the love of Christ. Barriers of nationality, history, and practice are transcended by the love of God. Baptism gives the Church its identity and commissions the church for ministry in the world.
The sacrament of Baptism belongs to God. For children it illustrates how God’s love sets a claim for us even before we are able to respond in faith. The sacrament of Baptism in adults witnesses to the truth that God’s call continues invite everyone to the warm waters of God’s welcome.