In Holy Baptism God delivers us from the forces of evil, puts our sinful self to death, gives us new birth, adopts us as children and makes us members of the body of Christ, the church. It is an event in which we believe God really, truly is doing something to us. In Holy Baptism, we are united with the events of God's saving action in the Bible, from creation to the resurrection of Jesus.
But Baptism is not simply a matter of a one-time event. The rite of Holy Baptism invites us into a life-time of living faith... of growing together as the people of God... of learning how it is that the promises of Baptism touch our every day existence and invite us into a life of loving service to God through service to others. In fact, we might say that the DAY of Baptism is just the first step in a lifetime of "walking wet."
Some Teaching on a Lutheran Understanding of Baptism.
Baptism is one of the 2 Sacraments (or signs) of God's promised love to and solidarity with us. (The other is Holy Communion.)
What makes a sacrament "a sacrament?" Two things: (1) it is commanded by Jesus in the Bible; and (2) it is made up of some ordinary substance or element.
For Baptism, of course, that ordinary element is water.
Baptism is not simply plain water but water used according to God's command and connected with God's Word: Jesus says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20).
Teaching, then, is part and parcel both in preparation for baptism, as well as the on-going life of following Jesus in our daily lives.
Baptism brings with it forgiveness of sins, freedom from death and the devil, and a promise of eternal life to all who believe it. Baptism becomes the place and moment we return to remember that God has made these promises to us once and for all.
The event is ONCE--meaning we don't rebaptize--but the effects are eternal.
It is not THE WATER that does these things to us. It is the Word of God (which is with, in, and among the water) and our faith that trusts this Word of God in the water.
Without the Word of God, the water is just plain water, and there is no baptism. But connected to the Word of God that water becomes grace-filled water of life and new birth.
This is what the Bible says about such things: "God saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to God's mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit, God poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been made right by his grace, we become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This saying is sure" (Titus 3:5-8).
Baptism is an initiation into the Christian community of faith, and everything about the service ties together the congregation and the individual being baptized. We are made one with Christ and with the whole people of God.
Baptism carries with it not only promises that God makes to us that are eternal and irrevocable; there are also promises that we make to each other. In the case of young children, the parents promise to nurture the Christian faith and practice of their children. In the case of an adult baptism, the candidate him/herself promises to take responsibility for that. In either case, the congregation promises to pray for the one being baptized, as well as encouraging, nurturing, and equipping him/her with what will be needed to grow in faith and practice.
Looking to Schedule a Baptism? The first place to start is with getting it on the schedule. Please use the form below, and someone from the church office will get back to you ASAP.