Take Me to the Water

Posted on Jul 7, 2015 in Sermons

Take Me to the Water…

Baptism Sunday – June 28

On this Baptism Sunday, we celebrate God’s powerful and working presence in each of our lives.

We take joy in knowing that God came for all of us- Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, black and white….God reveals Godself to each and every one of us.

The Creator God revealed Godself through creation.  God took the waters and separated them, giving life to every plant and creature.   As we dip our hands in the water, we say thank you for the waters of creation.  They remind us of life, refreshment, new beginnings, and God’s mighty power.

God was revealed through the stories and history of the people of our faith.  As we dip our hands in the water, we remember the floods and faith of Noah, the river and resourcefulness of Moses’ mother, the escape and exodus of the Israelites through the red sea.  The stories of our people and the waters they have waded through give us hope, faith, and courage to trust in God to provide and guide us.

The fullest revelation of God is in the person of Jesus.  The waters of birth brought Jesus to our world.  Our forebearers witnessed the waters of his baptism, the water turned to wine, the healing at the pools of water, even the waters of saliva brining sight to the blind man.  As we dip our hands in the water, we join with the saints in celebration and belief in the life and ministry of Jesus; in his healing, in cleansing, in new birth, and in the miracles that God can do with even the simplest of things.

There are times when we walk through difficult waters and other times that we dive deeply into refreshing and exciting waters.  We wade through waters of grief and longing, we play in waters of joy and celebration.  We are baptized into waters of faith and renewal.  As we dip our hands in the water, we acknowledge that God is present with us in every moment and every hour.

May God’s  Spirit bless the water we use today, that it may be a fountain of deliverance and new creation.  May those who enter it be transformed.  May God’s Spirit pour out upon them that they may be agents of reconciling love.  Make them one with Christ, buried and raised in the power of his resurrection.

 

We’ll now ask Logan/ Haley/  Emma to come forward for baptism…

________, do you choose this day and every day forever more to follow in the ways of Jesus?

Like Christ, you are buried with him in baptism and raised to walk in newness of life.

_______, Jesus said “You are the salt of the earth.”

Jesus also said, “you are the light of the world.”

Go into all the world and let your light shine.

 

Let us Pray:

Merciful God, you call us by name and promise to each of us your constant love.  Watch over your servants, Logan, Haley, and Emma.  Deepen their understanding of the gospel, strengthen their commitment to follow the way of Christ, and keep them in the faith and communion of your church.  Increase their compassion for others, send them into the world in witness to your love, and bring them to the fullness of your peace and glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

Take me to the Water…. hymn #367

Here we have come to gather for worship.  What is worship?  Some may say it is a time for individuals to come together to honor God in prayer and Praise.  Some may say it is a moment to get away from everyday troubles and routine and to focus on God.  For you, worship may be an opportunity to reconnect with God and with neighbor.  Yes, Worship is this.

Worship is also a practice.  It is an opportunity for us to corporately put into action those things that we believe.  It is a chance for us to have a rehearsal, if you will, for a life’s performance of obedience, discipleship, and giving glory to God.

In corporate worship, when all are gathered together, we have the opportunity to proclaim –together- through our actions- what we believe.

And what do we believe?

Turn with me in your hymnals to page 355 and read with me the Faith confessions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

As members of the Christian Church,
We confess that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of the living God,
and proclaim him Lord and Savior of the world.
In Christ’s name and by his grace
we accept our mission of witness
and service to all people.
We rejoice in God,
maker of heaven and earth,
and in God’s covenant of love
which binds us to God and to one another.
Through baptism into Christ
we enter into newness of life
and are made one with the whole people of God.
In the communion of the Holy Spirit
we are joined together in discipleship
and in obedience to Christ.
At the Table of the Lord
we celebrate with thanksgiving
the saving acts and presence of Christ.
Within the universal church
we receive the gift of ministry
and the light of scripture.
In the bonds of Christian faith
we yield ourselves to God
that we may serve the One
whose kingdom has no end.
Blessing, glory, and honor
be to God forever. Amen.

 

Logan, Haley, Emma, this long statement of faith is used by many Disciples congregations in worship as an affirmation…a way of saying, together, “Yes!  I believe!  Yes!  We believe!”  Don’t worry, there is not a “test” to make sure you get it all right.  The statement simply helps us to clearly name our commitment to Christ and to the Church.

The word that most stands out to me in the statement of affirmation is the word, “We”

We confess, we rejoice, we are made one, we celebrate, we receive…we.

This word, “We” helps us to understand that we’re all connected, that we’re bound together.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul indicates that by baptism, all participate in one body with “no sense of division in the body, but that all its organs might feel the same concern for one another.  If one organ suffers, they all suffer together.  If one flourishes, they all rejoice together. “

We believe that we are together in this; that God chose to weave our lives together, that the way of the kingdom is a way of unity, of togetherness, connection, remembering, of embodiment.

Together, we embody the practice of resurrection.

As one body, we celebrate and utilize each person’s gifts.

As one body, we recognize our connectedness and work to strengthen healthy relationships with one another.

As one body, we become familiar with one another so that we might know each other’s needs and also their gifts.

As one body, we count on each other to participate in each other’s livelihood, to be interested in each one’s ability to flourish and thrive.

 

I’ve been thinking….if worship is the time for us to rehearse and put into practice that which we believe.  And if we believe that WE are the body of Christ and that WE must count on, celebrate, and lean on one another….perhaps we might enjoy and even thrive from hitting the refresh button on the way we do things during our worship gathering time on Sundays….

We already embody a “we” faith each week when we proclaim that all are welcome.  We already embody a “we” when we lean on each other to serve one another and to greet each other with joy.

And you know, we could probably even add to these practices…

Perhaps we put the idea of “WE” into action and each week we chose to sit next to a new person, in a new pew, sharing with them the elements of communion, reaching out to them as we passed the peace, sharing hymnals as we sang songs of praise?

What if we mixed things up, the young sitting with the older, families spreading out to engage with others?

Filled with the Spirit, we could put the idea of “we” into action and each one offered his or her gifts in the sharing of testimony, leading of prayer, singing of song, or reading of scripture.

And we could go even further.  We could turn the words of affirmation into action and agree to work diligently together to break down barriers so that our shared covenant of love would bind us to God and one another.

Inspired by one another’s faith journey, we might choose to join together in discipleship not only in this time of gathered worship but in many different places and times?

God’s abundance and the possibilities for us together are endless.

In choosing, today, to join in worship;  in choosing, today, to be baptized, you are proclaiming to God and to one another, “Yes!  We Believe!  Yes we want to live a life full Spirit, of obedience, discipleship, and giving glory to God. Yes!  We want to follow!  Yes!  We are one!  Yes!  We are the body of Christ. Yes!  We want to grow together.  Yes!  We want to be transformed together!”

together- through singing,

together -through sharing

together- by changing

together- through befriending

together- through loving

Together- by proclaiming with our lives….

 

Yes, Lord, Yes.  We are Yours.