Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 26 Sermon II

Given at the Family Service at 10:15 AM.

On Baptism* The word “baptize” means to sprinkle or immerse in water.

This is a Baptismal Font (place of Baptism)
This is the water of creation, the dangerous water of the flood, the water the people went through into freedom, the water Jesus was baptized in, the water you were baptized in...

This is a Paschal (Christ) Candle
There was once someone who said such wonderful things and did amazing things that people just had to ask him who he was. He said ... “I am the Light.”

This is Holy Oil (Chrism)
The Holy Spirit goes where it will. It rides the invisible wind like a dove and comes to us when we need its comfort and strength. It is invisible, like the scent of this oil. It is invisible, but still there.

People are baptized when they are babies, or children, or teenagers, or grownups, or when they are very old. Names are very important in baptism. And the baptized are named before God and the congregation at the beginning of the service.

We ask the person about to be baptized questions, or if it’s a baby too little to answer, we ask the parents or godparents. We say prayers for them. Then we are ready.
  1. The baptized are named and then baptized in the water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
  2. This is the day when the baptized receive their light. We light their candle from the Christ Candle.
  3. The baptized are named again and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever with the oil of chrism on their foreheads...
Baptism is a holy action of the church (a sacrament) by which someone is welcomed in a special way into the Christian community and becomes a member of the church, the Body of Christ. With the visible, outward sign of water, and the inward anointing of the Holy Spirit, the church recognizes that the one being baptized has a new life in Jesus.

A new life we all have. For in baptism, we confess that we all are God’s beloved children.

* Words inspired by Godly Play & Seasons of the Spirit
So what does it mean to live as one of those sheep following the Good Shepherd? To live into our baptism? One story…
Andre Kudime was lay catechist at the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Megumeto, Mozambique in the early 20th century. Kudime was a young catechist (teacher of the faith) who called the community to worship by striking an iron beam that was hung from a tree branch - a very effective church bell. The authorities told him to stop ringing the bell and he refused. As punishment they made him carry the iron beam on his back to the main road, some 15 km away and to carry it back to Megumeto. On his return he was told not to ring the bell again. He said that he had paid his penance and he would ring the bell. For his defiance he was forced into military service and sent to the Portuguese colony of Macao, off the coast of China. He said that when he returned he would ring the bell again. He did return to Mozambique after his exile. He served his congregation as catechist, and bell ringer, until his death in 1981. That iron beam hangs there to this day calling everyone to worship & on my visit, it rang to welcome us there.
Andre Kudime who understood his role as a teacher of the faith, who couldn’t run away from his calling even when threatened, mirror Jesus's image of the Good Shepherd

To be a disciple of Jesus is not to be the hired hand who seeks to be compensated, who is concerned only with his/her own welfare or reward. Followers of Jesus, the Risen One, realize that every person possesses the sacred dignity of being a child of God and rejoices in knowing that in serving others they serve God, just as the Good Shepherd did. Amen.

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