Baptism

At St Luke’s there is no better time to party than when someone makes a decision to be baptized. We love standing alongside, cheering and partying with people as they make a public declaration of their faith in, trust of, and determination to follow Jesus Christ as the Lord and Saviour of their life!

When you really think about it though, isn’t it a bit fruity to be dunking people under the water and lifting them out in some sort of 1st Century ceremony? After all this is the 21st Century, if people want to let the world know they are Christians why not update their Facebook status, send a group e-mail or get a fish or cross tattoo?

Well, one of the things that make a baptism so meaningful is how incredibly “untrendy” it is. Choosing to be baptized indicates a well thought through, determined and purposeful decision. It doesn’t matter who you are, when confronted with the challenge to be baptised, you’re going to pause for a minute and ask… “Why exactly would I do that?”

More than that though, in baptism we join with millions of Christ followers who over the centuries have followed Christ’s example of being baptized. We participate in a Christian sacrament rich in symbolic meaning and yet completely relevant to life today.

Baptism is essentially a public declaration of one’s faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. It is a public affirmation of your decision; to turn from living life according to your own standards and focused on your own pursuits (however seemingly noble or downright ghastly); to accept the loving grace and forgiveness of God; and with the enabling help of the Holy Spirit to live according to the Way of Jesus as a disciple, a Christ follower, a Christian.

Baptism is symbolic of dying to an old way of life and being raised to a new life in Christ Jesus. We’re “dunked under” as a symbol of dying and “lifted up” as a symbol of entering into a new life in Christ Jesus.  Like the Israelites passing through the waters of the Red Sea, moving out of slavery in Egypt and into new identity and freedom, we too experience an Exodus moment. We leave behind our selfish ways, sin and our own selfish agenda and come into a new freedom, a new identity and family; the community of God’s people, the Church.

In baptism we stand alongside each other and celebrate with one another; we acknowledge our common need of a Saviour and for the grace and forgiveness of God. We acknowledge that though our stories may be varied they are not all that different. We recognize this in baptism and together find ourselves lost and found in God’s story; a story of love, grace, wonder and possibility. We determine to live out that story with one another and with the help of the Holy Spirit.

At St Luke’s we have a Spring Baptism each year and celebrate new life in Christ even as we enter a season of new life. It’s a great time to party and baptism (usually in a hot pool) is followed by a swim, bombing competitions, kids splashing and jumping and diving, a big BBQ and a celebration of new life in Christ Jesus. We celebrate with those being baptized and reflect on the ongoing significance of our own baptism, no matter how long ago that may have been, as we chose daily to life out the resurrection life of Christ.