Baptism is the first of the seven sacraments. It is the first of the three sacraments of initiation, and it is the first of the sacramental spiritual journey.
The symbols of baptism signify cleansing, death and rebirth, purification, light, new identity, and commitment of one’s life to living in relationship with God and acting in a way that honors God through love, service, and dignity. In baptism, one’s identity is “conformed” to Christ, meaning that we, in all we are and all we do, set our hearts, minds, and actions to do as Christ would in the world. This is why it is the beginning of a “new life” – it is a unique call, and one that is with us through every moment of life.
In the early days of Christianity, all the sacraments of initiation were completed within one ceremony: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Baptism marks the beginning of one’s entrance and welcome into the Christian community. The role of the community is critical in welcoming a new person into the life of the community. First of all, the sponsor (often called Godparents) and the parents of a young child, let the community know that this person will do what is asked of him or her, and they make a promise to help the person understand what it means to live as Christ asked. The community then offers ongoing support and guidance of one’s spritiual formation throughout the course of one’s life. Sometimes living as Christ wants us to is not easy, and we need each other. None of the sacraments are meant to be solitary events; we are all made for each other, and it is through one another that we come to know the love of God.
Baptism may be done at any time of life, but Christians are only baptized once in a lifetime! If you have never been baptized and are interested in learning more about what Christian life is all about, you are always welcome to learn more. “Let them come to the water,” we say. No one is turned away who seeks and asks for baptism.
For more information, or to arrange for a baptism, please contact the rectory at 708-422-8995.