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Remember your baptism: Theology for Kids
Do you remember your baptism?
I don’t. In my denomination we believe in one baptism and it can happen anytime in a person’s life. I was baptized as a baby, with my parents proclaiming to the community they would raise me in the church. Seeing as I became a minister, I have a feeling I will be in the church life for a very long time. But those words are proclaimed at every baptism I have been to and I think everyone that I have done. It is a simple question, but for most of us, we were baptized at such a young age there is no way we could possibly remember it. However, we witness the results of the event throughout our lives, and we have the opportunity to enjoy the gift of grace God gave us whenever we find ourselves near water.
The Baptism of Christ
In the Baptism of Jesus, when he goes down into the Jordan River and John offers Jesus to be free from sin (although there was no need for Jesus as he was already free and lived a life to follow), the entire scene was set for us. When the skies opened and God’s voice came down for all to hear, we know that this was a pleasing event in the world and especially for those who call Christ Lord. We are called to remember that event when we witness a baptism in our own faith walk. Jesus started the process and he continues it whenever someone is brought to the moment of seeing the grace being offered to someone new.
An outward sign of inward grace
Baptism is defined as an outward sign of inward grace, which means we do something on the outside so people can see something, while God does a lot on the inside. God’s grace enters into our lives at our baptism, we are graced with love and glory at that moment. We are accepted as a child of God, no matter who our parents are or where we were born. Depending on what people believe on how you should be baptized or even which denomination do it the “right” way, a baptism does more than what we see on the outside. It is a way to not only purify us, but it also sanctifies us. We are set aside to serve God and allowed to make the choice of accepting the grace God has for us or turning our backs and trying to ignore God. God is always present in our lives, but we can turn from that grace and ignore him. In our Baptism, we are given the “one phone call” to get out of the prison of sin and pain. We cannot escape the grace of God, and that is a good thing.
Baptism allows us freedom from fear. We no longer have to worry about sinning, messing up, or just doing something wrong. We need to do our best to follow the teachings of Jesus, but we cannot live perfect lives. We are going to do something wrong, and in our baptism we are promised God washes us in the Holy Spirit when our head (or entire body) is washed in water. The Holy Spirit cleanses us of past, present, and future sins. This does not mean go out and sin because you are free, but that we have been given a wondrous gift of freedom in God’s cleansing water. We are truly blessed to be a child of God. I have been to church services where at every baptism the entire congregation is showered in sprinkled water. This helps people remember that they too are part of this greater family, this great commitment to Christ. Whatever a church community can do to help people understand they are connected at a deeper level than just being in the same room then God’s love is being shown and his glory is being witnessed.
What Baptism means for us now
God holds us each dearly in his presence, knowing that with each new baptized child (no matter what the age they are baptized) the family of God becomes more loving. I know some people believe a baptism only makes sense when the person is old enough to understand what is happening. But I am not sure that anyone can truly understand the power and grace involved in this encounter with God. There is knowledge we can’t receive until after the event has occurred and more that won’t make sense until we meet our own maker and understand our role in the life we lived and the world we lived in. While everything changes around us, the power and stability of being a child of God through baptism never ends or changes. We are loved and when we allow the world to witness this event we invite them to help us lead a life worth living, a life following Jesus out of the Jordan and into the world.
We are still working towards understanding the full power of our baptism at every stage of life, so whether we are baptized as children, teenagers, or adults, the power is ever present in our lives and how we live them. When we accept our baptism, when we allow it to enter into everything we are and everything we do then we allow God to be in control of our lives. He can lead us to do great acts of kindness for the Kingdom of Heaven, and he can also show us the power of how he can save anyone from a life of sin.
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