Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives, the first step in response to God’s love. For all involved, particularly the candidates but also parents, godparents and sponsors, it is a joyful moment when we rejoice in what God has done for us in Christ, making serious promises and declaring the faith. The wider community of the local church and friends welcome the new Christian, promising support and prayer for the future.
Hearing and doing these things provides us with an opportunity to remember our own baptism and reflect on the progress made on that journey, which is now to be shared with this new member of the Church.
So what is baptism all about?
Baptism says that Christians:
- Have been given a new identity in Christ;
- Have made a decision to follow Christ on a lifelong journey into the fullness of God’s love;
- Have turned away from sin and are living a new life;
- Have received both forgiveness and the Holy Spirit.
Pictures of the journey
The service paints many vivid pictures of what happens on the Christian way.
There is the sign of the cross, the ‘badge’ of faith in the Christian journey, which reminds us of Christ’s death for us. Baptism began with people being immersed in a river. Our ‘drowning’ in the water of baptism represents our dying to sin and rising to new life. And as a sign of that new life a lighted candle, representing the light of Christ conquering the darkness of evil is presented.
Washing away our sins
Baptism represents God washing away our sins. None of us is perfect and we all need God’s forgiveness. One day God will judge us all. When Jesus died on the Cross He took our sins onto Himself. This means we can be forgiven, and go free, even though we don’t deserve it. Jesus asks us to admit our need of forgiveness and receive it from Him.