Each week we celebrate the Lord’s Day with a traditional worship service at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings with nursery and childcare provided. In addition to our regular Sunday services, we also have special services throughout the year. Additional blessings flow when we are led in worship by our wonderful choir and soloists, our pastors and lay ministers, and our children and youth.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
With the church in every time and place, we baptize new Christians. Baptism marks a beginning. We baptize people as they begin on the Christian way just as Jesus was baptized at the outset of his public ministry. In addition to his example, he taught us to baptize those who become disciples. Children born into Christian families are baptized soon after birth, because this is when, for them, the path of discipleship begins. Adults receive baptism when they acknowledge God’s grace in Christ for them and commit to the life of a disciple. We are baptized once, as there can be but one beginning.
The Lord’s Supper is a ritual meal in which Christians participate. Like baptism, this is something Jesus himself did and asked us to continue. It has several layers of meaning for Christians:
- We renew our commitment to Christ’s covenant union with us.
- We experience an object lesson in the significance of the cross.
- We are encouraged by the gift of Christ’s spiritually real presence.
- We see a hint of what it will be like when God finally joins heaven and earth, when people “will come from east and west and north and south and take their places at the feast in the Kingdom of God”.
We celebrate the Lord’s Supper not once, like baptism, but again and again, as often as every Sunday (the Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day) because we are constantly in need of its benefits.
The Bible and the Christian tradition give us an appropriate sequence: First, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”. When faith comes, or we are born into a Christian household, we receive baptism and begin the life of discipleship. During the life of discipleship, we receive strength and renewal in the presence of Christ with the covenant community gathered at the Lord’s Supper.
So faith leads to baptism, and baptism leads to communion.
Sometimes it happens that someone who is not yet Christian receives one of the sacraments, or an unbaptized person receives the Lord’s Supper. We do not try to prevent this. And when we realize an unbaptized person has chosen to participate in the Lord’s Supper, we will offer baptism.
In any event, we acknowledge that both the Bible and the wisdom of the Christian church always and everywhere encourage us to follow the sequence of faith first, one baptism in response, and repeated, renewing communion afterward, as God’s pattern for our greatest good.