This is a busy weekend for us in our little corner of Christ’s realm. We’re receiving some new members, and we will celebrate with three young adults affirming their baptismal faith at Center Church on Lopez Island. Also, our conversation about how to resume worship in all our church buildings is just starting.
It’s a great opportunity to say something more about belonging to the body of Christ. Baptism is how we start the journey of belonging. Recognizing, of course, that God first chose us. So baptism is our way of celebrating God’s love and grace for each of us
We make promises at our baptism. To live connected with God within a community of faith. To hear scripture, pray together, and receive the Lord’s Supper. To live connected with Jesus and his love by serving people in need as he did. To tell the world about God’s love in Jesus in everything we say and do. To actively seek justice and peace in all the earth for both creatures and creation.
Because parents and sponsors speak on behalf of children for those promises, there comes a time when they need to affirm their baptismal promises for themselves. And that’s what we call “Confirmation” although the actual word for it is “Affirmation of Baptism”.
In the Affirmation we do three things. We confess the church’s historic faith in the triune God. We reject all forms of evil. We make our baptismal promises for ourselves.
The one thing we don’t have to do is re-baptize anyone. People often say, “I was baptized Lutheran or Methodist or Catholic, or Baptist...” But actually, baptism isn’t denominational. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:4-5: “There is one body and one Spirit…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father (aka holy parent) of us all…”
So we are one in Christ Jesus, one in God. And one day we will be back in our churches celebrating our oneness again. Though our online worship has reminded so well – our community is one in three, and three on one too!
The Rev. Beth Purdum Eden is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has served in more than 6 parishes in the Western United States for 30 years.