Friday, October 21, 2011

Infant Baptism

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Infant Baptism Services

Baptism is a sign of being a part of God’s family.

There are different baptisms in various churches with their differing beliefs.

A Roman Catholic baptism usually takes place during a service of Holy Communion, but sometimes they can be private to one family or with other babies being baptised as well.

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Parents and godparents bring the baby into the church and are welcomed by the priest, at the entrance. The baby, once welcomed, has the sign of the cross made on its forehead, as a blessing from the parents and godparents. The priest reads a section about baptism from the bible, and then the child is anointed with oil, as a sign that the child is now dedicated to God, and his church. The godparents say that they reject Satan, and repeat the words of the Creed. The priest pours water, the symbol of new life, three times on the baby’s head, as he pronounces “ I baptise you (Anne Marie) by the sign of the cross.”

The baby has the Oil of Chrism applied to its head, and is wrapped in a white baptismal robe, representing a guard against evil. A baptismal candle is lit, held by a godparent, representing the light of God, showing the way through life.

The Church of England (Anglican) has a similar service for baptising babies, as a Catholic baptism. The baptism is done in a Eucharist service, a family service or more privately.

The Paschal candle is lit for the whole baptism service and by either the parent or godparent. The baby is baptised with water, with the words of, “ I give you this sign for now you belong to Christ, the light of the world…” And everyone, including the congregation, states their belief in God.

The Orthodox Church has very little similarities to the Catholic and Anglican baptism services.

The Godparents answer for the baby throughout the service. Once the priest blesses the water, the baby is anointed with oil, and then immersed three times in the water, whilst baptised by the trinity. A cross is placed around the baby’s neck, representing the cross of God, which the baby has taken up. Christmation (confirmation) is performed straight after, this is where the baby has Chrism put on its head, eyelids, lips, ears, chest, hands and feet, as a guard against evil. The baby is carried around the font three times and has a small lock of hair cut off.

Believers baptism is where a person who has made their own mind to follow God or renew their faith, is baptised. The service can be slightly different in each church, as there is no set form of the service. Pentecostals and the Brethren Churches, and some Anglican Churches perform this type of baptism. The importance of baptism is explained, and the congregation may join in to show their commitment to God. The service usually consists of a number of people getting baptised together. White clothing is preferable, as a symbol of forgiveness and new life.

The believers read a short passage, and then in turn they enter the pool of water. The minister will say, “ (Name), because you have repented your sins, and requested baptism, I now baptise you in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” And then the person being baptised is totally immersed in water. The congregation may sing a chosen hymn, once the candidate has left the pool.

In Mark 1 V Jesus is baptised in the Lake of Galilee, at an age where he was able to decide for himself that he wanted to be a part of God more.

Christians and non-Christians baptise their children, because they feel it is the right thing to do. They might want their child to be a part of what they are. Some people it is the safe way, as some believe if a child is not baptised and dies it will not be accepted into Heaven. People want their children to grow up in the teachings of God and His church.

Christian parents in a Roman Catholic or Church of England baptism would continue to bring up their child to be a Christian, by sending them to Sunday school, where they could learn about the Bible. The parents would live a Christian life so the children could follow their example. They would take their children to Church masses showing the way to celebrate God. Prayers could be said before meals and important events. Videos about Jesus and the stories of the Bible could be shown. They could talk about Jesus and what He did. Celebrate the anniversary and death of Jesus. Send their children to school that is for Christians, Anglican or Catholic school. When the children are a little older they would have Holy Communion and be confirmed, which has a good preparation period beforehand through by special classes and maybe a trip.

All these would give the child an insight of the way to lead a Christian life, following the way of God.

“Baptising babies is pointless.” I believe that baptising babies isn’t pointless as it brings them into the Lord’s church and gives them a head start in knowing the ways of God, the Bible, and wrongs and rights. It’s a celebration of a new human being, a new lease of life. I can see what people mean when they make this statement, that it is pointless, as the baby can not make its own decision in becoming a part of the Church, it is decided by the guardians of the child. Once the child is older it still has a decision in my eyes because even if it is baptised it can go further, Holy Communion, Confirmation, or just not believe at all.

Not all people believe in baptism and that’s entirely up to them, as the Salvation Army and Quakers don’t practise baptism.

Baptism is bringing a child into the family of the Lord.

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