Baptism is at the heart of the Christian faith and the Baptismal Covenant, which we say at baptisms, confirmations, and re-affirmations, outlines the Christian life. Think of covenant as a love story.
When we say the Apostles’ Creed, we recall all that God has done for us in love. God created the world in its beauty, God sent God’s son, Jesus, to dwell among us and for our salvation, and God continues to give and sustain life. God continues to reconcile the world to God’s self. All this, in love.
We respond to God’s love by promising to live in a particular way, that is, to love. Our loving response is the five Baptismal promises. The first two call us into spiritual practices that help us grow into the likeness of Christ as we deepen our relationship with Jesus, ourselves, and one another.
- Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the prayers? We will, with God’s help.
- Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord. We will, with God’s help.
The final three Baptismal Promises direct our hearts and minds toward ministry in the world. Jesus invited his followers, and us, to join him in healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, freeing the captive, and feeding the hungry. We are a people called to join God’s mission.
- Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? We will, with God’s help.
- Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? We will, with God’s help.
- Will you strive for justice and peace and respect the dignity of every human being. We will, with God’s help.
The School for Christian faith and leadership is committed to growing with you as you seek to fulfill your baptismal promises in daily life–at work, in the park, at shops, gardening, while walking the dog, and caring for others. Most of our ministry happens not during a few hours on Sunday morning, but during the other 160 or so hours of the week.
Here are some steps you can take to equip yourself for a baptismal life:
Take one of the courses offered by the School for Christian Faith and Leadership, especially Explore, a course to help you discover God’s presence in your life.
Begin a practice of daily prayer with pray-as-you-go.org, develop a rule of life with the Society of St. John the Evangelist, or sign up to receive Water Daily, a daily reflection of the upcoming lectionary reading from The Rev. Kate Heichler.
Look at Go Make Disciples: An Invitation to Baptismal Living for suggestions for welcoming people who are inquiring about a life of faith and sustaining that life in community. Discuss with leaders in your congregation how you might help seekers deepen their faith.
Start a Sacred Ground Dialogue Circle. Enter a brave conversation about race by joining a Sacred Ground Dialogue Circle in your congregation.
Fulfilling these promises takes practice and community. As you explore your next steps in faith, remember, life in Christ is not a solo endeavor. Invite someone from your faith community to join you.
The Rev. Jenifer Gamber
Director of the School for Christian Faith and Leadership and Tending Our Soil Thriving Congregations Initiative