I was ordained to the Disciples denomination. But I'm serving in a congregation of the UCC, and the plan is to be here for a good long while. So what to do about baptizing our children?
I didn't refer to my godson as my godson until I heard one of his parents do it first. They asked me to be a baptismal sponsor but didn't use godparenting language at first, so I wasn't sure what name(s) they were giving the relationship. I was glad when, just before the baptism, the baby's mother said to him, "These are your godparents!" It's pretty awkward calling a kid your "baptismal sponsee." Really drains the cute right out of the moment.
The Christian heritage of praying next to water is older than Christianity itself, being deeply influenced by our Jewish heritage. One of our stunning water-prayer treasures is Psalm 104.
Isaiah 43:1-7 (Psalm 29); Acts 8:14-17; Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Genesis 1:1-5 (Psalm 29); Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11
Isaiah 42:1-9; Psalm 29; Acts 10:34-43; Matthew 3:13-17
Perhaps instead of asking confirmands to confirm the vows made at their baptisms, members should confirm the vows they made to these teens at their baptisms—confirming the validity of those vows and the congregation’s love and commitment to them, no matter what the teens may believe at the moment or where life may take them. The candidates would be asked to receive the love of the congregation and a recommitment of what the congregation offered them at their baptisms. Even if the teens leave the church, as many will, those commitments would be like a light kept in the window until they are ready to return home.
Will the water bring death or life?