Monday, March 9, 2015

Baptism is a beginning not an end | Peter, our Pastor

Historically, in The Episcopal Church, we baptized primarily infants who were then confirmed in their teenage years. As American society has changed fewer families have their children baptized. The result is a greater number of adults seeking to be baptized.

This has caused Episcopal clergy to remind people that baptism was always a beginning and not an end in itself. That is, baptism commences a new relationship with God through Christ’s death and resurrection in the power of the Holy Spirit.

One of the theological twists in all of this is that it is God who gives us the faith in which to believe in God. It is God who gives us the power to believe, it is God who leads us to baptism, it is God who covenants with us forever. In other words, we already and always have a relationship with God; in baptism the relationship is sealed and one is “marked as Christ’s own forever.”

So, the invitation to baptism is one in which the hospitality of God through the Church is expressed. The requirements to be baptized include the desire to be baptized, an ability to respond to the questions of the Baptismal Covenant with integrity, and a willingness and intention to continue forward in this new relationship with God in the context of God’s Church.

(By the way, the Renewal of Baptismal Vows for those who are already baptized, including Confirmation and Reception, is the action of an adult wanting to continue in the relationship that began at baptism.)

The first of several opportunities for continuing discovery for adults begins right after Easter. More on the exploration of “The Outline of the Faith (The Catechism)” later.

If you have not been baptized, or if you have questions about your baptism, you are invited to talk with me about it.

Holy Baptism is administered on the four major feast days of the Church Year: Easter, Pentecost, All Saints Day (November), and the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (January).

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