Proclaiming the Gospel once delivered to the Saints

Baptism

Baptism

Baptism is the first of the great Journey Sacraments. 

Water is a major theme in the Bible, from Creation as the Spirit of God brooded over the water there are many images of water. Abraham traveled from the land of the great rivers (Tigris & Euphrates) to a well on the Hill at Shiloh. Moses led the Hebrew People across the Red Sea as on dry land, and when they were thirsty he struck the rock with his staff and water came forth. David the Psalmist spoke of being led by still waters. John came Baptizing in the River Jordan. Jesus took water at the wedding and made it wine. Jesus said to Nicodemus said we must be born of water and Spirit, and met the woman at the well that Abraham had traveled to in a narrative that concludes with him being called the Savior of the World. When Jesus was crucified water came forth from his side mingled with blood. In the great vision of heaven in the last book of the Bible the great river flows from the Throne of God.

By the sacrament of Holy Baptism we come into the Church. The Font in that sense is the door of the Church. In this sacrament we are made one with Christ (hence it sometimes being called Christening). The journey of faith does not end in Baptism, it begins here. Parents and Godparents promise to nurture the journey.

XXVII. Of Baptism

(From the Articles of Religion 1562)
BAPTISM is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christians are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or new Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God. The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.​

Work to Make Baptism Matter

I suspect if you asked the average person in the pew what Baptism was about you may get a variety of answers. Some may think it like an insurance policy that protects us from hell. Some think it is a naming ceremony. It is more than these. I think we struggle to understand the mystery of God's actions in our lives. At the end of Matthew's Gospel Jesus commands his followers to "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" [Matt 28.19] 
 
Baptism is an invitation to be blessed by God and discover faith. It is a beginning and so we should value this sacrament as highly significant in the journey of faith. The outward and visible sign is the water, the inward and spiritual truth is the work of the Holy Spirit, and whilst we may like to see the dove resting on each one we baptize, we are called to trust, and to work for the growing in faith of each one baptized.