Saturday, October 29, 2011

Baptism: A Liturgical Celebration


Gathering Song: “Holy Now” by Peter Mayer

Gathering Prayer:

One: Holy Spirit, we gather to bask in your abiding presence.
All: Wellspring, we gather to be drenched in your sacred waters.
One: Creator, we gather to praise your ongoing creation.
All: Potter, we gather to celebrate your handiwork.
One: Mother Hen, we gather to be protected under your wings.
All: Lord, we gather to claim you as our ultimate authority.
One: Deliverer, we gather to be led away from our troubles.
All: Advocate, we gather to be lifted up by you.
One: Aged Tree, we gather to be steadied by your firm foundation.
All: Flowing River, we gather to be led along the banks of life.
One: Liberator, we gather to be released from all that oppresses us.
All: Great Physician, we gather to experience your healing power.
One: Conservationist, we gather to celebrate your care for the earth.
All: Commander-In-Chief of the Universe, we gather to follow your leadership.
One: Visionary Artist, we gather to thank you for including us in your masterpiece.
All: Peacemaker, we gather to be led by your vision of shalom.
One: Lover of All, we gather to rest in your embrace.
All: All-Weather Friend, we gather to enjoy your faithful companionship.
One: Great Spirit, we gather to honor your presence in all living beings.
All: Band Leader, we gather to dance to the rhythm of your sacred music.
One: Amazing God, we gather to celebrate all of these aspects of you.
All: Each aspect is a blessing to us – and to children like _____. Praise be to you. Amen!

Hymn: “All-Present, All-Visible

Reading from John Philip Newell

“At the birth of every child, the Holy is born. In the conception of every creature, the Sacred One is at work…The gospel of Christ reveals the dearest and most hidden of truths, that we are what Christ is, born of God, and that at the heart of every human being and every creature is the Light that was in the beginning, and through whom all things have come into being.”

Reading from Sherwin Wine

“When a child is born, hope is born. A child makes us look forward with anticipation and excitement. A child is our link between the past and the future. Children allow us to reach out to the future, with all its possibilities and opportunities. Children unleash the power of our love and creativity and let us discover how much we need to nurture. When we give the gift of life to others, we give life to ourselves. We become alive with hope.”

Sharing Hopes and Blessings

Song: “Perfect” by Pink (adapted by Sara)

Reading from Galatians 3:23-29

“Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.”

Reading from Matthew 28:16-20

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in my name, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”

Hymn: “Children Born of Sacred Water

Sacrament of Baptism

One: The gospels testify that all people are invited to accept God, who has already accepted us. We only need to accept that we are accepted.
All: So, we, the members of God’s Beloved Community, proclaim that same witness. _____, the same God who has claimed every person as a beloved child, also proclaims that you are a beloved child.

Thanksgiving Prayer

One: God is with you.
All: And also with you.
One: Let us give thanks to God.
All: It is good to give God thanks and praise.
One: Holy Spirit, we thank you, because in you, we live, move, and have our being. We also thank you for the gift of water, which has been a blessing of life and health from the beginning of time. Your same Spirit who brooded over the waters at Creation, continues to brood over the waters in every pond, river, and ocean. Your same Spirit who blessed the sacred births of the first people on earth, continues to bless the sacred births of all babies. Your same Spirit who led our ancestors out of Egyptian slavery by parting the waters, continues to lead us toward greater freedom. Your same Spirit who descended upon Jesus at his baptism in a river, continues to be with us through our baptismal waters. Each time we see, hear, or touch water, enliven us anew to your abiding presence with us, and your gracious love for us. Bathe us afresh, now and always, in your sacred waters.
All: Abiding God, as we prepare to baptize _____, we ask that you bless this place, bless this water, and bless all of us gathered. In this moment, may your love, justice, and mutuality flow like a mighty stream through all of us. Amen.


One: The good news that we celebrate today is that _____ is a beloved child of God, with whom God is well pleased. He was born of two beloved children of God, and will be supported and nurtured by many other beloved children of God, including everyone gathered here.
All: Through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, _____’s birth was sacred, the earth upon which _____ lives is sacred, and the community that surrounds him/her is sacred. Today we celebrate the holiness that already surrounds this sacred child.
One: Out of gratitude for _____ being a beloved child of God, and for God’s abiding presence with him/her, are you prepared to offer promises of dedication and faithfulness.
P: We are, with the help of God.
One: Do you promise to raise _____ as God’s beloved child, so that s/he will be reminded of God’s gracious love and abiding presence in his/her life?
P: We do, with the help of God.
One: Do you promise to help _____ live his life according God’s vision of love, justice, and mutuality? And do you promise to help him/her avoid the temptations of incivility, injustice, and selfishness?
P: We do, with the help of God.
One: Do you promise to teach _____ about the Kin-dom of God, the central message of Jesus Christ? And do you promise to help him/her enjoy and embody that message in his life?
P: We do, with the help of God.
One: As a community, do you vow to support them in their promises?
All: We do, with the help of God. We also promise to walk with _____ on his spiritual journey. On this holy adventure with God, we will celebrate our beloved kinship, live out God’s vision for the world, and embody God’s Kin-dom.
One: Together, we will be God’s Beloved Community – a living sacrament of Jesus Christ. Now, let’s baptize _____ for this sacred journey.


One: _____ _____ _____, we baptize you in the name of Jesus Christ, the One who reveals the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God of Sarah, Rebecca, and Rachel. The God of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The God of love, justice, and mutuality. The God of plants, insects, and animals. The God of this town, this planet, and the entire cosmos. The God of new life, new hope, and new creation. The God of your past, present, and future. Amen!
All: _____, you are a beloved child of God, with whom God is well pleased. Amen!


One: Holy God, Jesus embodied your gracious love in word and deed. Thank you for that gift. We also thank you that today, as the Beloved Community, we can witness that same love to _____, proclaiming that he is your beloved child; and that he is saturated by your abiding presence.
All: Loving God, encourage and strengthen us in our journey of faith, so we can always find ways to enjoy and embody your vision of love, justice, and mutuality in the world. Amen.


One: _____, you are a beloved child of God and a member of the Beloved Community.
All: We will worship, pray, learn, serve, and travel together.
One: We will also encourage one another along the way.
All: And, like Jesus, we will celebrate faith, life, and ministry along the way. Amen.


One: Sisters and brothers, here is our sibling in Christ, _____ _____ _____.

Hymn: “God of Movement

Benediction from Marianne Williamson:

One: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
All: Holy God, through our baptismal waters, liberate us, so we can liberate others! Amen!


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