In Touch June 19, 2009
Posted on June 19, 2009 by under Touché,

“A Covenant Commissioning”

Q. Should infants, too, be baptized?

A. Yes. Infants as well as adults are in God’s covenant and belong to God’s people. They, no less than adults, are promised the forgiveness of sins through Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit who gives faith. Therefore by baptism, the sign of the covenant, infants should be received into the Christian church and should be distinguished from the children of unbelievers. This was done in the Old Testament by circumcision, which was replaced in the New Testament by baptism.  (Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 27)

This Sunday we will see the full picture of baptism.  Kylie and Katelyn Delamater will be baptized at the first service.  We will honor our Sunday school teachers for helping us all keep our covenantal vows with the kids we baptize.  Marge Hiller and MaryAnn Congi, two teachers, will share testimony about how teaching has blessed their walk with Christ.

We will celebrate with graduates a significant milestone in their lives.  Katlin Geysen, a graduate who was raised at Hopewell will share what it has meant for her to be part of this covenant community during these formative years.

We conclude by commissioning my daughter, Hilary Holbrook, for a year long mission service in Mexico.  She was baptized as an infant and now is commissioned as an adult. 

It is a celebration when it all comes together.  The fruit of baptism is when children who know that they have always been loved by God are called into ministry in many forms to share that love with others. 

There are times when it feels that baptism can be an empty ritual of the church.  When parents who have little connection with Christ or the Church baptize out of tradition, family expectations, or belief in the sacrament itself, baptism loses its meaning.  But when the church takes its vows seriously, and a child is nurtured in the covenant, then the Holy Spirit uses that to shape the future of the church and the future of the world.  God promises to be faithful even when we are faithless.

I can appreciate my Christian brothers and sisters who see “believer’s baptism” (waiting until a person makes their own confession) as more faithful to scripture and human nature, but this Sunday we will celebrate the fullness of covenant baptism as it is played out before us.  We will see and hear some of the reasons why this is a faithful following of scripture as well.  I hope you will be there.