The following is an outline for one of a series of four interactive sermons that can be used together with the four week mystagogical study, “28 days” posted under Formation.
Each sermon includes four segments:
- An experiential reflection–recalls individual and collective sacramental experience
- A symbolic/liturgical reflection–draws on themes and symbols from the liturgy of the community (the sacramental from your particular tradition can be substituted)
- A scriptural reflection–the experiential and liturgical reflections are given new context in light of the biblical text
- For the coming week–reference is made to the family and personal devotional studies for the coming week
Baptized: Alive in Christ Jesus!
In baptism, Christ, through his Spirit, makes us a part of his body, the church, and makes us new creatures, benefactors of his redemption of all creation and participants in bringing his new life to all the world.
Group reflection: remembering our baptism.
- When were you baptized? As a baby, as a child, as an adult?
- If you were baptized as a child, do you remember seeing others baptized?
- Where were you baptized? What happened?
- Who baptized you? Who was there?
- How were you baptized? How did you get ready to be baptized?
- What else do you remember—what stuck with you (sights, sounds, smells, thoughts)?
Group reflection: symbols and actions in baptism
- What kinds of symbols are being used? What do they mean?
- Some possible symbols/symbolic actions to discuss: water; immersion/pouring; number of times (trinity); renouncing the devil; vows; confessing the creed; disrobing/robing; blessing of the water; anointing with oil; giving of the candle; reception by the body; sharing in communion.
Unpacking the liturgy
Examine the following prayer from an Anglican baptismal liturgy. Use enlarged copies of the text and have the children 1) circle what it says that God is doing, 2) underline what it says that we are doing, 3) highlight what it says changes in us as a result of our baptism.
Dearly beloved in Christ, the Sacrament of Baptism is offered because our Lord Jesus Christ taught us that we cannot enter the kingdom of God unless we
are born anew of water and the Holy Spirit. This new birth is necessary because all human beings have both a disposition towards evil and are also sinners. Therefore, I ask you to call upon God the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that in his great mercy he will grant new birth to this child; that she may be baptized with water and the Holy Spirit, and received into Christ’s holy Church and be made a liv- ing member thereof.
Almighty and everlasting God, who in mercy saved Noah and his family in the Ark when the great flood came, who safely led the children of Israel through the Red Sea, symbolizing thereby holy Baptism, and who by the Baptism in the river Jordan of your Son, Jesus Christ, sanctified water to the mystical washing away
of sin; in your infinite mercy look on this child, wash and sanctify her by the Holy Spirit, we pray, in order that, being delivered from your wrath, she may be received into the Ark of Christ’s Church. Make her to be steadfast in faith, joyful through hope, and rooted in love, so that passing through the waters of this troubled world, she may finally come to the land of everlasting life, there to reign with you forever; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Discuss the marks and highlights noticing the weight given to each. Discuss the following questions.
- What does this prayer say about baptism?
- What kinds of images from the Bible are used in the prayer?
- What does it say is happening in baptism?
Text: Rom. 6.1-11
Have the children lead by asking the questions and writing the responses.
- What does Paul say is happening in baptism?
- What does this mean for us as we live each day? What does this mean for our future?
For the Coming Week
Meditate on the Scriptures in your devotional guide and answer the questions provided. Most especially, think about the difference baptism has made in your own life. What would it be like if you were not baptized into Christ?