Remembering Our Baptism – Uniting With Christ
Lesson on Baptism
This sermon/lesson is in outline form to allow the priest / presenter to offer it in an extemporaneous manner. The objective of this sermon is to have the children – and the adults who will be listening – consider the commitment that was made by their Godparents on their behalf and to make that commitment real in their lives today.
I. How many of you have been to a baptism? -- Get children involved asking them questions about what they saw.
A. Did the baby know what was happening? Do you remember your baptism?
B. An opportunity to explain that we baptize babies not because they believe but so that they will believe.
C. At your baptism, your parents & Godparents made some promises.
- Our Godparents and our parents, together with the Church, promised to raise us in the faith so that we will believe in Jesus when we are old enough to understand.
- There is nothing automatic or magic about baptism
- Jesus chooses us first, but we are saved by our personal acceptance of His Spirit (Schmemman).
- Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock…”
II. The first part of our baptism that happens in the back of the church is the Catechesis
A. Explain catechesis – prayers and statements at the beginning of the baptism.
B. Have children say the word and repeat what it means.
III. In the catechesis, the priest first commands Satan to depart.
A. “Depart from this creature, never to return. Neither conceal yourself in him/her, nor seek to influence him/her by day or by night, at dawn or at noon day.”
B. Our Godparents renounce Satan
- The priest asks , “Do you renounce Satan, and all his works, and all his worship, and all his angels, and all his pomp?”
- What do you think it means to spit on someone? Discuss.
- Children may laugh at the idea of spitting in church, but we can explain that in the Middle East and elsewhere, if you want to disrespect someone and have nothing more to do with them, spitting on them is one of the most insulting things you can do.
- If not too disruptive, you may encourage them to once again reject Satan, and even to blow and symbolically spit toward the west – the darkness that represents the darkness of evil.
IV. Our sponsors turn to the East –the source of light – and unite us with Christ
A. “Do you unite yourself to Christ?” “I Do.”
- Three times
- Each time more emphatically
- In the process of theosis (have the children repeat the word), we are continually trying to be like Jesus
- You may ask the children, “Do you unite yourself to Christ?” and encourage the children to say the words, “I do unite myself to Christ.”
B. “And do you believe in Him ?”
- Encourage the children to say the response: “ I believe in Him as King and God .”
V. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us (just as it came to the Disciples on Pentecost)
A. A seed is planted, but it requires a personal response.
B. The power of the Holy Spirit lies within us, but we have to “plug in” to receive it.
- Talk about electrical power for computers & games
- Things don't work unless we plug them into the power.
VI. A Each of us is born with a God-shaped space in our heart
A. But this space is in constant danger of being filled with the wrong things.
B. God is what belongs there.
VII. At our baptism we receive the light of Christ symbolized by the candle
A. We are supposed to let our light shine before others that they will see our good works and glorify God.
B. In the ancient Olympics, in order to win, the runner had to cross the finish line with his torch still lit. We need to do this with the light of Christ that was given to us at our baptism.