The church celebrates many holidays including Christmas and Easter as the high holy days. It also celebrates other special days like Epiphany (which commemorates the arrival of the wise men), Transfiguration, Pentecost, All Saints Day, and this Sunday — Baptism of our Lord. On this day, The United Methodist Church (along with many other Protestant denominations) recognizes the baptism of Jesus and the beginning of his public ministry. In doing so, we teach others about the sacrament of baptism and provide an opportunity to remember our personal baptisms.
Rise out of the water
Different churches baptize in different ways. Some, like The United Methodist Church, believe infant baptism is the expression of God’s grace and presence. Some believe in youth and adult baptism as a matter of conscious choice to believe in Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit. Some baptize by immersing completely in water, others by pouring water, and still others by sprinkling water. While the method may be different, the symbol of water is the same: The water represents our rebirth. We pass through the water to die to self and come out of the water to join God’s mighty acts of salvation. Being baptized in Jesus’ name, we receive a new life with the risen Christ. Our baptism marks us, or sets us apart, as followers of Jesus. Baptism is the acknowledgment of the work of God’s grace in our lives.
Baptized to serve
In the New Testament we read that baptism was always the beginning of something. For Jesus, it was the beginning of his public teaching and healing ministry. For Paul, it was the beginning of his teaching and church planting around the Mediterranean. For thousands of others it was the beginning of their ministry of sharing Jesus with their families, their friends, and others who would listen. We, too, are called to live out our baptism by sharing Jesus with others through our loving words and actions.
Question of the day: What was your favorite way to serve or be in mission last year?
Focus scriptures: Matthew 3:3-17 and Acts 2:38-39
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