Baptism and Communion

Baptism

Baptism finds its roots in the ancient Near Eastern health custom of circumcision, which the Hebrews took over and gave special meaning. Almighty God declared to Abraham and Sarah that they would bear a son and through that son they would become progenitors of many nations. God promised to bless these nations through Abraham and the visible sign of this promise (covenant) was circumcision, which was performed on eight day old Hebrew male. Thus, circumcision became a sign of belonging to God's covenant family. Jewish people have practiced this rite since.

For Christians, the sign of belonging to God's covenant family is baptism, which was a widely performed purification rite. Christ commanded his followers to bear His name to the world and baptize all those who accept Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. Baptism is not limited to adults in our tradition, but applies to the children of Christian adults as Jewish parents circumcised their male children. Children make their own profession of faith at the age of confirmation when they publicly accept the Christian faith as their own.

The meaning of baptism

Baptism is the sign and seal of inclusion in God's grace and covenant with the Church. When you are baptized you are indicating your belief that:

  • God created humanity perfect
  • Humans, through their original disobedience to God, have forever destroyed the perfect relationship they had with God
  • Sin is complete and humans are unable to correct their sinful condition on their own merit
  • To God alone belongs the initiative to make us His children
  • Through Christ's life, death, and resurrection we belong to God's covenant family
  • By accepting God's grace through Christ we are included in God's covenant family and we are reborn in the Holy Spirit
  • The waters of baptism point us back to God's grace and point us forward to the work of Christ who fulfills God's promised future

Who can be baptized at Memorial?

We practice infant baptism for children of members as long as at least one parent is a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA). All adults who come to faith are able to receive the Sacrament of baptism.

When is baptism offered at Memorial?

Baptisms occur as scheduled with the Pastor and approved by Session.

Communion

 

On the night before he was crucified Jesus sat with those closest to him, including Judas his betrayer, and gave them a perpetual act by which we remember his death and resurrection and its meaning for us. This perpetual act is called the Lord's Supper, or communion, and is one of the two Sacraments people in the Reformed tradition practice.

 

The Lord's Supper finds its origins in the Jewish feast of Passover. During Passover Jewish families gathered together to remember the beginning of their ancestor's exodus from Egypt. God redeemed the Hebrews from their existence of slavery and under Moses' leadership they moved out toward Palestine. Thus, Passover has been an especially meaningful celebration of God's redemptive activity for His people.

 

The meaning of the Lord's Supper

 

The Lord's Supper is the sign and seal of eating and drinking in communion with the crucified and risen Lord. By taking the elements of the Lord's Supper (bread and the cup) you are making a faith statement and responding to truth in scripture that:

 

  • God created humanity perfect
  • Humans, through their original disobedience to God, have forever destroyed the perfect relationship they had with God
  • Sin is complete and humans are unable to correct their sinful condition on their own merit
  • In the course of time God, through the Son Jesus Christ, took all the sins of the world upon Himself on the cross and died
  • Christ's death is atonement for all human sin
  • Following his death, Almighty God raised Christ from death and thereby made possible the restoration of humanity's perfect relationship with Him
  • Only by believing in these things can we have eternal life with God

 

Who can take communion at Memorial?

 

The Lord's Supper is available to anyone who has put her or his faith in the risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and has been baptized in the name of the Triune God. We practice open communion so regardless of the Christian tradition you're a part of you are able to take the Lord's Supper with us!

 

When is communion offered at Memorial?

 

We offer communion on the first Sunday of each month and at special worship services such as Christmas Eve, Maundy Thursday, and Easter Sunrise.