Sunday, October 13, 2013

Remember Your Baptism

I get the privilege of being a godparent to two precious kids in my life. When I was a kid, I thought godparents were the people who would take care of me if something bad happened to my parents. Now that I'm older, I know that being a godparent has nothing to do with custody (unless that's been decided in a will) and everything to do with supporting and encouraging my godchildren in their walk with Christ. In the very least, my role as a godparent is to pray for my godchildren and talk to them about God.

In addition to that, I try to remember my godchild's baptismal anniversary in a special way each year. Some of the things I've done include making a simple booklet of prayers, giving a book like "How Big is God?" or a CD of songs that relate to faith, such as ButterflyFish's Ladybug. This year I'll be giving my godkids a subscription to The Little Lutheran (which is also available as The Little Christian.)

As a parent, I'm not always good at remembering to mark celebrations like this, so the important thing for me is to keep it simple. What I like to do is light the candle Esme (and now this year, Reid) got on their baptismal day as a reminder that they are baptized and the light of Christ lives in them. I also want to add the blessing that I've included below as part of our family's traditions.

As I've said before, I think baptism is super important because it is something we can always look back to as a reminder that God loves us. And how that reality isn't based on how well we act or how accomplished we are. Not only that, our baptism is also what gives us the confidence that we can make it through any tough times that might come our way because it is a reminder that God is with us and that no matter what, we are the Lord's.

In our worship folder on Sunday, after we confessed our sins, the congregation received these words of forgiveness: Sisters and brothers in Christ. Remember the gift of baptism; your sin is washed away in the name of Jesus. You belong to Christ; you are anointed to serve. For me, this is what baptism is about. It is also what I want my own kids, my godchildren, and the children my congregation to grow up knowing deep in their heart.

Here's a blessing that you can do to celebrate the anniversary of someone's baptism:

Blessing for Baptismal Anniversaries
  • Set a bowl of water in the middle of the table where you eat or on a small table near where you are sitting.
  • Invite your children to fill the bowl with shells or a favorite stone. Say this prayer: Gracious God, at the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, you proclaimed Jesus to be your beloved son and blessed him with the gift of the Holy Spirit. We give thanks for the gifts you have given to us this day. (Name them…) Help us to live each day as your child, knowing we always belong and have a purpose – to share our faith, and use our gifts to serve you and make a difference in this world. Amen.
  • Tell your child the story of his/her baptismal day-- who was there, what you were thinking/feeling on that day. Ask others present to share their memories. Then tell the stories of your own baptism.
  • Share what the baptism of this child meant/means to you.
  • Parent/Godparent/Grandparent: Dip your finger in the bowl and mark your child with the sign of the cross and say, “You are a child of God, marked with the sign of the cross forever. God loves you and so do I!”

Note: Children love to return the blessing to a parent. This blessing may also be done between a couple or with a grandparent or elder in a care center.

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