The Greatest Gift by Denis Long, CLM, White Bird Community UMC.

Sometimes, but not often, we have a baptism in one of our churches.

Baptism is one of the two sacraments practiced by the United Methodist Church. The other is Communion.

Sacraments in the United Methodist Church are things that Jesus did, or were done to him. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan by full immersion. The Holy Spirit descended upon him and God spoke, “This is my Son, and with him I am well pleased.” What a wonderful statement of parental love that would sustain Jesus throughout his life, ministry, and the agonizing mortal death — on the cross.

Baptism is a sign (act) where God gives us his blessing and love in the presence of our church family. Baptism is not a reward for what we have done, but an outright gift of God, which we are to use and enjoy throughout our lives.

Baptism is done only once and is never repeated. … Methodists recognize all other churches’ Baptisms. Baptism is always done in the presence of the congregation. It is not a private act. Baptism can, in the Methodist tradition, be done by immersion, pouring or sprinkling. Water should be in quantity. …

Methodists practice infant Baptism making sure that parents or guardians fully understand the significance of the occasion and will raise the child accordingly. Adult baptism is also done. Here, again, those being baptized should be fully informed what it is and the joy and responsibility throughout life.

It is my joy to have been baptized as an adult by Rev. Cindy Roberts in the White Bird Community UMC, April 6, 2008. Jim Kitchen, Lay Person, assisted. It is a gift I’ve used and continue to enjoy. Even more joyous, it has been my honor to have assisted Rev. Barbara Essen in two adult Baptisms.

If we fail in faith and even renounce our Baptism, we are still baptized. We may break our word to God, but He will not break His word to us. While Baptism itself is not repeated, it is always being renewed, both in special service and in daily life, especially when we take communion.

Think back to your own Baptism.

Renew it and enjoy it every day in service to the Lord.

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