How do you teach baptism?
When teaching children about baptism, we often review the symbols and the stories of baptism. We talk about John the Baptist in his camel skin clothes and the dove descending from on high. We talk about water, and how the water in our font is ordinary water that we set aside for a holy purpose.
We remember the promises made. We talk about the simple fact that people can be baptized at different times, and each time helps teach the church something new about God’s love.
Over the past 11 years, we have welcomed more than 250 people at baptism. Do you remember one of those moments? Were you one of those 250? What does baptism mean to you? It is a holy moment in the life of our congregation where we see God’s love come close. How do you understand baptism?
During Wednesdays Together, our choir program for children in Pre-Kindergarten to fifth grade, we discussed five important words that help us understand baptism: Filled, Beloved, Purpose, Belong, Covenant and Free. In case you need a primer, this is how the children of our congregation defined those words in relationship to baptism:
Filled: The font is FILLED with water. We are FILLED with joy. God FILLS us with the Holy Spirit.
Beloved: BELOVED is how God named Jesus at his baptism. Beloved means you are already loved; before you are baptized you are loved; and by the time you are baptized you are BELOVED both by God and by your congregation.
Purpose: We set ordinary water in the font for a special PURPOSE.
Belong: Through baptism, we BELONG in God’s family. In baptism, we are reminded that we BELONG together as a church.
Covenant: The promises God made with the people throughout time are covenants. Baptism means that those promises are made with you. Baptism is also a COVENANT that God has chosen you as part of God’s family.
Free: Baptism is FREE; there is nothing you need to pay to be baptized. Baptism FREES us from sin, washing away the things that could keep us from God.
I wonder what these words mean to you. What does it mean to belong, be free, be chosen, to be a part of a covenant renewed, and to be beloved? If you’re not sure, ask one of our children, and they can help remind you.