Living Our Baptism

Living Our Baptism – 9 June 2013

Welcome to worship today.  We’d especially like to welcome the families of Jett and Emma Ingram who are to be baptised today into the faith and fellowship of the Christian Church.  Jett and Emma’s other brother James was baptised here on 21st December 2008.  James has been part of this congregation for most of his life and it’s a great joy for him to return today to celebrate his brother and sister’s baptism.

As Linda and Andrew bring their son and daughter for baptism we will take the opportunity for the whole church to be reminded about what our baptism means.  Baptism is joining the church, the family of God.  It is entering into the covenant relationship with God and other Christians.  It is being part of the Sunday-by-Sunday life of the church.  The Baptism of our children is a gateway through which our children are offered life as God means it to be.  It confronts us as parents and as a church about our growing children and the fact that God claims our lives and expects us to live lives of joyful commitment to him within his family.  As I reflect on these thoughts I’m very challenged by this responsibility and I’m glad that this congregation has started to seriously look at the deficiencies of our ministry to children and young people in this regard.  This area of ministry is one of the 4 pillars that is being developed now and in the coming years.  JAM Club and the Fun day’s are only a small part of the developing broader vision.

Because the church is all about mission, the Uniting Church is convinced that all of its members do have the obligation and must have the opportunity to be personally involved in that mission according to their gifts and calling – children as well as adult, women as well as men, regardless of ethnicity or culture or place in society.  This is what it means to be a member of the Uniting Church in Australia.  Paragraph 4 of the Basis of union affirms:

Through human witness in word and action, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ reaches out to command people’s attention and awaken faith; he calls people into the fellowship and sufferings, to be disciples of a crucified Lord; in his own strange way Christ constitutes, rules and renews his Church.

This idea that the church is made up of people called by Christ to participate in his mission and ministry is a key theme in the Church’s Basis of Union:

  • “Baptism into Christ’s body initiates people into Christ’s life and mission in the world” (paragraph 7)
  • By celebrating Holy Communion the people of God “are strengthened for their participation in the mission of Christ in the world” (paragraph 8)
  • Ministers are set apart to “preach the Gospel, administer the sacraments and exercise pastoral care so that all may be equipped for their particular ministries” (paragraph 14[a]).
  • The local church council is “responsible for building up the congregation in faith and love, sustaining its members in hope, and leading them to a fuller participation in Christ’s mission in the world” (paragraph 14[b]).

Well I think that this introduction and reminder of our calling as Christians and disciples of Jesus as members of the Uniting Church in Australia should give you plenty to think and pray about this week.  Jett and Emma have become part of this family and responsibility today.  What an awesome thing that is.  Glory to God!!

Remember that you are baptized…..this week….                                      Rev. Brad Foote

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