A Baptismal Liturgy

The liturgy below is available here in a .doc format for ease of editing.

Contrary to our popular thoughts, baptism is not a sign of a believer’s faithfulness, but a sign of God’s. (John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance, but Christian baptism is a recognition of the Holy Spirit in us whether we repent nor not!) We are immersed in God’s grace, “born again” not of our own believing but of God’s grace. We don’t “get our children”— or ourselves— baptized. Baptism isn’t something we do at all, but something God does. The Baptismal service is our way of beholding what God has done and is doing in the person baptized—and in the community, for we are charged to treat the person as God’s beloved so they can accept it and integrate it for themselves. Therefore the sacrament of baptism is not repeated: God got it right the first time. But we need to continually renew our awareness of our baptism, our awareness of God’s faithful love for us and the invitation to live out a faithful response.

This liturgy is an adaptation of the service in the United Methodist Hymnal, It may be used for services of baptism and/or baptismal renewal, including Confirmation. (In Confirmation what we’re confirming is our baptism, so it’s most fitting for confirmation to include baptism renewal.)

For a baptism, names and pronouns that need to be correct are italicized. (The placeholder “Name” is intentionally misspelled so it shows up in your spell check.)

For a service including a baptism omit sections 9 and 13, 14, 15.
For congregational renewal or Confirmation without a baptism— omit 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 12.

The Sacrament of Baptism

1.
Introduction
Pastor: Beloved in Christ:
through the sacrament of baptism
God gives us new birth through water and the Spirit,
includes us in Christ’s holy church,
and makes us part of the salvation of the world.

So we come to the water—
Yes, everyone who thirsts! Come to the waters:
water of new birth, poured out and flowing freely
for all who will receive it;
water of justice rolling down,
water of righteousness like an everflowing stream;
a spring of water in us gushing up to eternal life;
the river of God for the healing of the world.

We come to this water
because our souls thirst for you, O God,
as in a dry and weary land.

2.
[If there is a baptism:]
Sponsor: We come to this water
to baptize NAMIE
and to bathe them in your love for them.
Pastor: We come to this water as a community.

3.
All: We come to this water
to renew our love as siblings in Christ,
and to renew our baptism
in the death and resurrection of Christ.

4.
[In a baptismal service: asked of those being baptized, or their parents;
for Confirmation, asked of Confirmation candidates;
for a baptismal renewal service asked of the congregation
.]

The Baptismal Vows
Pastor
As we behold the mystery of God’s grace,
I invite you to profess your faith,
and to confirm the baptismal covenant made in your name:
Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness?
Individual(s) or Parents:
We confess our need for the saving, life-giving grace of God!
Will you turn away from the powers of sin and death?
We renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness,
reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of our sin!
Will you let the Spirit use you as prophets to the powers that be?
We accept the freedom and power God gives us
to resist evil, injustice, and oppression
in whatever forms they present themselves!
Will you receive God’s grace, give yourselves wholly to God,
and live as disciples of Jesus, Christ’s body on earth?
We confess Jesus Christ as our Savior,
put our whole trust in Christ’s grace,
and promise to serve Christ as our Superior,
in union with the church which Christ has opened
to people of all ages, nations, and races!

5.
[For baptism of children, asked of their parents]
Will you, their parents and mentors, nurture these people in Christ’s holy church?
Parents and mentors : By teaching and example we will guide them
to accept God’s grace, to grow in faith, and to lead a Christian life.

6.
[For baptism of those who can answer for themselves]
According to the grace given you,
will you remain faithful members of Christ’s holy church
and serve as Christ’s representatives in the world?
I Will.

7.
[If there are sponsors]
Will you who sponsor these people
support and encourage them in their Christian life?
I will.


8.
[For a baptismal service, asked of the congregation]
Do you, Christ’s Body, the church, reaffirm your rejection of sin
and your commitment to Christ?
Congregation: We do.
Will you be living witnesses to the gospel,
individually and together, wherever you are, and in all that you do?
We will live as faithful members of the Body of Christ
and serve as Christ’s representatives in the world.
Will you nurture one another in living the faith through the church
and include these people in your care?
With God’s help we will embody the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We will surround nayme with faith, hope and love
that they may grow in grace and faith
and learn to trust God and live in loving service in the world.

We will pray for them and walk with them
on their journey of discipleship among us.

9.
[For baptismal renewal service without a baptism]
Will you be living witnesses to the gospel,
individually and together, wherever you are, and in all that you do?
We will remain faithful members of Christ’s holy church
and serve as Christ’s representatives in the world.
Will you nurture one another in living the faith through the church?
With God’s help we will embody the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We will surround each other with faith, hope and love
that we all may grow in grace and faith
and learn to trust God and live in loving service in the world.
We will pray for each other and walk with one another
on our journey of discipleship together.

10.
Profession of Faith (The Apostles’ Creed)
Let us join in professing our faith.
Do you trust in God the Father and Mother?
All:
: I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.


Do you follow Jesus Christ?
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Begotten, our Superior,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of God,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.


Do you live by the Holy Spirit?
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy universal Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen.


11.
Thanksgiving over the Water

The Spirit of God is among us.
The blessing of the Beloved is upon us!
Let us pray. Loving, life-giving God, we give you thanks,
for in the beginning your Spirit brooded over the waters
and you brought forth Creation.
You brought us to freedom through the waters of the Red Sea.
You gave us new birth through baptism into Christ,
and gave us life that cannot die.
The river of God is full of water,
the river of the water of life,
bright as crystal, flowing from the heart of God.
We who are baptized into Christ Jesus
are baptized into his life,
born in the water of a womb;
we are baptized into his ministry,
giving water to the thirsty,
washing the feet and sharing the tears of all who suffer;
and we are baptized into his death,
so that just as Christ was raised by the glory of God,
we too might walk in newness of life.
Born of water and the Spirit,
may we enter into the Realm of God
as children of God,
born not of human will, but of God.

12. [If there is a baptism]
Pour out your Holy Spirit in this water
and bless the one who receives it,
that claimed by your Word, nourished in your grace,
washed from all sin and borne by your Spirit,
they may live in freedom, trust and courage,
sharing in the eternal life of Christ.

Namme, you are God’s Beloved,

in whom God is well pleased.
All reverence and delight is yours,
infinite and loving God, now and forever.
All praise to you, Eternal Father and Mother,
Son and Holy Spirit,
in the present moment and in eternity. Amen!

… Baptism with Laying on of Hands …

Let us
welcome our new sibling in Christ.
nanme, Child of God, claimed by water and the Spirit,you are joined to God’s new creation.
We are one in Christ Jesus,

sharing in Christ’s royal priesthood.
With joy and thanksgiving
we welcome you as a member of Christ’s church.
God bless you now and in eternal life. Amen.

1
3.
[If there is a renewal without a baptism.]
Pour out your Holy Spirit in this water
and bless us as we remember it.
Claimed by your Word, nourished in your grace,
washed from all sin and borne by your Spirit,
may we live in freedom, trust and courage,
sharing in the eternal life of Christ.

Children of God,
you are God’s Beloved,
in whom God is well pleased.
All praise to you, Eternal Father and Mother,
Son and Holy Spirit,
in the present moment and in eternity. Amen!

14.
[The congregation is invited to interact with the water in ways not easily interpreted as being “re-baptized.” Possibilities include having people come forward and touch the water; having people kneel and receive a cross of water on their foreheads; sprinkling the congregation using evergreen branches…]

15.
[Confirmation and/or reception of new members may be held here]

16.
Blessing:
Pastor: The God of all grace, who loves us,
blesses us and calls us in Christ,
establish you and strengthen you by the power of the Holy Spirit,
that you may live in love and grace and peace.