Wednesday, June 20, 2007
For them, they perform baptisms as an ordinance rather than a sacrament, as we do. It is because Christ commanded it, and because it is an initiation rite into the Church that baptism is necessary. However, they believe it is only a symbol of a change that has already been effected, a public statement of faith, rather than a means of receiving a particular grace from the Lord, which effects a change in the person, because of the power of the Holy Spirit. Something their pastor said in his sermon about baptism really struck me, as I hadn't quite seen this emphasis before was that Jesus gave baptism equal significance with evangelization and instruction in the Great Commission. He also compared baptism to a wedding ring, which makes sense if you understand that they see baptism as a symbol and don't want to put as much significance on it, but a better analogy is of baptism to a wedding. Both are the sacraments, and the means, by which one becomes something else. In the first, a Christian, in the second, a married person.
This coming Sunday, we will be taking Jerome to be baptized. It will be a glorious time, and the angels will be rejoicing in heaven as we rejoice here on earth. For a moment, as in the Mass, our prayers will be joined with theirs and the separation between the Church on earth and the Church Triumphant will be gone. This has been a long time coming, as we tried to work it out so that he could be baptized between Christmas and Epiphany, and it just didn't work out with everyone's schedule. Please keep him in your prayers, as he is joined to the body of Christ this coming Sunday, and enabled to participate in the Mass and the life of the Church.