Eucharist – with renewal of baptism vows – what is all that about ?
Renewal of baptism vows is a good thing to do as a church family. In our black service book, Common Worship, it suggests this is done a maximum of twice a year (yikes). I prefer to offer it once every two or three years so as not to erode its weight or significance. Places in the Christian calendar this sits best are within the liturgy of the Baptism of Christ (Sunday after Epiphany – which is when we will be doing it) or Easter (when many of us are away and replaced by visitors) or Pentecost (when I prefer to focus on the birthday of the world wide church).
I am giving notice of this on a number of platforms to allow time for preparation and minimise anyone arriving not knowing what is happening and why. If you wish to prepare and reflect on the affirmations we will be making they can be found here … Baptism of Christ–Renewal of Baptism Vows
The water will be blessed as at a baptism.
A corporate affirmation of faith will be made (voluntary of course) in place of the creed.
The water can either be sprinkled on all assembled (which is what I usually do at baptisms under the banner of ‘Remember your baptism and be faithful to Christ’) or – and this is what we will do !! – an invitation is offered for individuals to sign themselves, which is what we will do on our way to the altar for communion, allowing for plenty of space for reflection in doing so.
(For anyone who doesn’t normally cross themselves as part of their spirituality – please remember that you were baptised in the name of the Trinity, the water and the sign of the cross are both part of the baptism rite and the signing is in this context a reminder of this – no pressure to change your normal practice)
So to return to the key question – why is it a good thing to do this as a church family?
One of the symbols around a baptism service is the signing on the forehead with a cross:
• when children are present I talk about this being a sign of belonging not unlike the mark on the hind quarters of a farm animal, not unlike a uniform that might be worn or a badge. Some of these signs are about ownership and some we would don with pride and both those elements are present in the signing of the cross ‘Christ claims you for his own. Receive the sign of his cross.’ (ownership) immediately followed by ‘do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified…..’ (pride in our belonging).
• apart from family membership this is the first identity bestowed on us, at least in those churches where infant baptism is the norm. This is huge huge huge !!! Infants become a baptised member of God’s family before anything and everything that follows…..
• this is the foundation of our vocation and every baptised member of God’s family has a vocation though not all are brave enough to explore what that might be …..
• other symbols through a baptism liturgy are of course the water – water as the source of all life including spiritual life ‘we thank you almighty God for the gift of water to sustain and refresh and cleanse all life’ so there is life full stop, but also refreshing (like holidays, trips to the cinema?) and also forgiveness or more exactly the ever present offer of a fresh start, a new beginning…
• there is oil too, which we don’t often use at St Catherine’s, but it is a symbol of God’s abundant blessing and once again makes the link with vocation
• the final symbol is the giving of a candle at the going out – to remind us all that as we receive, we do so in order to share. “Shine as a light in the world, to the glory of God the Father”.
So in the renewal of our baptism vows all these elements will be implicit, leaving you to focus on those of them which speak to you presently.
Belonging, a shared journey, who we are and how that might influence our priorities and loyalties, the base of our vocation and a reflection on that, our commitment as a church to serve those who are in need, both locally and through our ‘financial giving’ further afield.
May you and we all be blessed through this family occasion.
If the above has prompted you to think about baptism and you haven’t yet been baptised, or would like to take the step of Confirmation please speak to Kara. firstname.lastname@example.org
as we continue to welcome Christ the Prince of Peace in our midst we pray for:
- peace in our world and especially in those places that has experienced violence this past year
- peace among those who daily live with fear
- peace in the communities in which we live and work
- peace in our church which has had its own storms this year which continue to challenge us
- peace in our homes and our hearts
- and God’s strength and courage to be peacemakers and bridge builders
Prayer Breakfast Saturday 11th January – 09:15
Baptism of Christ Sunday 12th January – Eucharist – 11:15 with renewal of baptism vows and Sunday School for the children. (please bring them directly to the Anglican Centre before the service)
Eucharists in the season of Epiphany: Sunday 19th and 26th January – 11.15 with Sunday School for the children
Further notices can be found on the newssheet_for December and January