Following their confession of faith in Jesus Christ, they are lowered into the deep water to die and rise with Christ, to be washed and renewed, to cross the sea and the river and enter the land of God's promise.
Baptism is nothing less than the whole story of God and the people of God condensed into one moment:
- It is the sea through which God’s people escape to freedom and in which the powers that oppress and enslave them drown.
- It is the river God’s people cross to enter the promised land.
- It is the flood from which a renewed creation emerges.
- It is the call of John in the wilderness and the obedience of Jesus.
- It is the water that breaks at the birth of a new humanity.
- It is the washing of feet at the end of a long journey and the bath on the eve of the great sabbath.
- It is the river of life that runs from the throne of God.
We discover the whole story of God and God’s people in the sacrament of baptism – not because water ties it all together so beautifully, but because Jesus does. In his whole life we find God’s purposes revealed and God’s promises fulfilled. Those who answer Christ's call to discipleship and kingdom mission leave their old life behind and live in newness of life, live in Christ.
In baptism, God acts by embracing us as God’s own, making us part of the body of Christ, and giving us the Holy Spirit;
the church acts by obeying the command of Christ and welcoming new disciples as brothers and sisters and equipping them for ministry;
and the individual believer acts by responding to God’s call in Christ, renouncing the false gods of this world, and committing to a life as a follower of Jesus Christ.
At Vine Street, we will have a retreat on Good Friday for all candidates for baptism, and the retreat will conclude with an evening pilgrimage through the church, in the tradition of the Stations of the Cross. More information about this concluding worship will be in our newsletter; we welcome guests to this and any worship service.