Celebrating baptism and honoring baptismal promises

Jan 7, 2019 7:00:00 AM / by Deb Hetherington

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Every sacrament of baptism we witness reminds us of our own baptism and all baptismal blessings and promises. We are welcomed as children of God in the family of God!

Baptism marked Jesus as God’s son, and baptism marks us as God’s children too. In Matthew 3, Mark 1, and Luke 3, Jesus is baptized in the waters of the Jordan River by his cousin, John the Baptist. John dips Jesus into the water, the sky opens, a dove flies down, and God’s voice rings out naming Jesus as a beloved son.

Today, God’s people speak words of covenant, commitment, and community in the liturgy of baptism. By water and the Word we are bathed in God’s baptismal promise. All who are splashed by this water praise the Lord!

But what happens after a child’s baptism?

How often does the child continue to hear they are God’s beloved child?

How do parents, sponsors, caregivers, and the community of believers live out those baptismal promises to support the child throughout their life in Christ? 

Try these simple ways to keep affirming each child of God through water and words, honoring baptismal promises at church and at home. 

Honoring baptismal promises at church

Stay connected with families of children baptized at your church whether you see them on a regular basis at worship or not past the day of the child’s baptism.

Host an annual event inviting families of little ones baptized in the last twelve months to gather for fellowship with activities that reinforce elements of baptism: 

  • Tell the story of Jesus’ baptism from a story Bible.
  • Set up sensory water tables indoors or kiddie pools outside to splash and play together. Include plastic figures that kids can pretend to baptize as John baptized Jesus.
  • Share a baptismal blessing with each other. Make the sign of the cross on the child’s forehead with water, including the child’s name, “Amy, you are a beloved child of God.”
  • Gather around the baptismal font and sing a song that can feature each child’s name.
  • Light a baptismal candle and repeat the words from your church’s baptismal liturgy.

 

Experiencing these activities at church with others is a way for adults to learn and practice with others how to nurture their child’s faith – especially those who may not feel confident about what that really looks, feels, and sounds like. This is also a perfect time to gift these little ones with their first story Bibles! 

Honoring baptismal promises at home

Share ideas with parents, sponsors, and caregivers how they can live out their baptismal promises in easy, simple ways every day. Stagger the frequency and method of your messages so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Give them time to try out different ideas encouraging them to make them their own, reminding them of how much little ones love repetition! 

  • Read from a story Bible. Let the child flip through the pages and ask them about the images they see.
  • Washing hands, taking baths, swimming, and drinking water are all opportunities to reinforce the life giving and baptismal element of water. Splash away in your home, at a pool, or at a beach!
  • Put your child’s baptismal day on your calendar to be celebrated as an anniversary each year and invite the child’s sponsor(s) to gather for a meal. Remember that day together and share stories of family baptisms.
  • Bless each other tracing the sign of the cross, “David, you are a child of God and a gift from God.”
  • Keep a shell with other bath tub toys as a symbol of baptism and fun way to scoop and pour water. Call the child’s name and affirm they are known and loved. Tell them, “God is pleased with you and so am I!”

 

Celebrating our own baptisms and honoring our baptismal promised connect us to Jesus’ baptism.

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God is pleased with Jesus, and God says so. Children love to hear that we are pleased with them and that God is too. It can be done in easy ways at church and at home! Praise God!


Do you have other ideas on how to continue to celebrate baptism and honor baptismal promises as children grow? Tell us in the comments below!
 

Topics: Early Childhood Ministry

Deb Hetherington

Written by Deb Hetherington

Deb is passionate about supporting faith formation for all of God’s children from babies to adults, at church and at home. At Sparkhouse, she has worked on early childhood, story Bibles, Sunday school, music, devotional, and Vacation Bible School products for kids, leaders, and families. She feels blessed to now sing and play with kids as a volunteer in her congregation and on mission trips to Haiti.

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