|The Baptism of Jesus|
Props: Copy of Photo
Your church's baptismal font, bowl, baptistry, with water
This story describes the baptismal practices of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. You may need to adopt the details to reflect the traditions of your particular church or denomination, should they differ.
Good morning, everyone! Today we are going to talk about one of the most important things that we do as a church. We don't do it every week, like singing hymns and praying prayers. This ceremony is so special, so sacred, that it is called a sacrament--the sacrament of baptism.
Different churches perform baptisms in slightly different ways, but they all have four things in common--a person to be baptised, a congregation, water and God.
In our church, the person coming to be baptised can be any age. He or she can be an adult who has decided to follow Jesus, or a baby or child whose parents want their daughter or son to grow up in a Christian home and church.
Water is poured into this special bowl, called a baptismal font (show your font). Can you all say that? Baptismal font. Very good. Prayers are said asking God to bless the water for its special, sacred use in baptism. Then Pastor Chris dips his hand into the font and lets the water run over the head of the person being baptised. Sometimes the babies are startled by the water and cry, but not too often.
When a baby is baptised, its parents and everyone in the congregation promise to love and nurture the child, teaching him or her about Jesus so that she or he will grow up knowing God's love and what it means to be a Christian. Baptism is a way for parents to say, "I believe in the promises God has made in the Bible to love and care for my children and me, and I want my child to learn about and follow Jesus every day." Baptism is also a way of saying, "Yes!" to God's invitation to enter the community of faith, or the church.
Jesus was baptised by his cousin, John the Baptist, in the Jordan River. When Jesus was baptised, God was very pleased. Jesus started his God work of teaching, preaching and healing soon after his baptism. And later in his ministry, he told his disciples to go out into the world sharing the Good News of God's love and forgiveness. They were to make disciples and baptise those who chose to follow Jesus. Now, over 2,000 years later, those disciples include us!
Let's Pray. Our Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gifts of baptism and inclusion in the community of faith. Help us to live as Jesus' faithful disciples each and every day. Amen.
As they leave the area to return to their seats, you may invite the children to touch the water in the baptismal font.