Thursday, December 31, 2009

Returning to Basics: Jesus' Baptism

No better way to begin a new year than in worship, at the Table and returning to the font. The text for Sunday is Mark 1:4-11 on Jesus' baptism. When we examine Jesus' baptism, we only naturally return to our own baptisms and what they mean or don't mean.
I don't recall my baptism. It was done while I was an infant at the hands of Dr. F. Burton Nelson in Lafayette, Indiana. As a newly alive believer in college, I asked my dad to baptize me again. Wisely he referred me to Dr. Donald Frisk, professor of Theology at North Park Seminary. He carefully listened to my prodigal story and his eyes moistened as i told of my return to faith. He said that I could be baptized again, and again and again, but it was not really necessary because I was already named and claimed and loved by God. It was just now that I was appreciating that identity more fully as an adult. I opted to not be re-baptized. But over the years when I've had the same conversation with persons who have come alive in faith, some were baptized again, some elected to stand before congregations and renew their baptismal vows.
This Sunday we will offer anyone present the opportunity to come to the font after receiving Holy Communion and renewing their baptism by dipping their hands in the waters. We did that last October in Philippi Greece where the Apostle Paul baptized Lydia, the Jailer and their families. It's a holy moment to return to baptismal waters and our baptismal identity.


At 8:44 AM , Blogger Isaac Johnson said...

The vineyard church I attended for some time called the infant baptism "dedication" and did adult (which ranged from teenage onward) "baptism". what's the distinction really between infant baptism and dedication?

At 12:46 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

Infant dedication does not use water or baptize the child in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It's more about the parents' commitment to raise the child than entering into the sacramental mystery of God's prevenient grace.


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