Dluxe's World

Saturday, February 11

Thoughts on "Give Praise to God" - Part 5 of 3278

Continuing with the 'elements of worship' trend, the next chapters in "Give Praise to God" turn to tackle the two most familiar sacraments to believers in the church: Baptism and the Eucharist.

Personally, I've spent a lot of time considering baptism over the past handful of months. I grew up Methodist and was sprinkle-baptised as an infant... For some reason, I was never really comfortable with the idea of infant baptism. While I appreciate it as a symbollic act (dedicating the child's life to the Lord), there are obviously plenty of people baptised who don't go on to lives that worship in spirit and truth.

I don't think infant baptism is bad. It's a misapplication of a good thing. Baptism should be viewed as a sign and seal of our rebirth and restoration as children of God through Christ. Just as my parents can't pray me into heaven, having an infant (or anyone else, for that matter) baptised aside from the Spirit's work in them has no real, effectual impact..

Thus far, I'm jiving with the authors in "Give Praise to God" swimmingly. Here's where I'm puzzled: How should a church handle those individuals who were baptised as infants? Should they be encouraged to be (re)baptised? Should they be excluded from church offices or membership until they 'come around'?

This is my wrestling match, I suppose. I honestly can't remember a time that I wasn't a 'believer'. I've had people tell me, with no lack of fervor, that there was no way I could've understood the gospel and it's relation to my life before I was [insert age]. I would agree without hesitation that my depth of faith has grown... Heck, it continues to grow - that's what this little blog exercise is about. But the fundamental understanding has remained rock solid.

So, should I be re-baptised? Well, I feel no compulsion in my spirit that I should... I do feel 'bad' when other people look at me with horror that I was "only baptised as an infant *gasp*". But is that feeling a desire to be approved by men or a prompting of the Spirit? I'm not sure I've answered that question well enough, yet. But I am convinced that just getting re-baptised to 'cover my bases' is not the right answer either.

I welcome your thoughts. Moving on...

The chapter on Communion was fairly vanilla, IMHO. Nothing really was presented here that seemed to rock the foundations of most evangelical churches. As is often the case, there's a couple things that your mind spins and chews in new directions.

The first was an issue of frequency: How often should we include the Lord's Table as part of a coporate worship service? I'm fairly convinced that answer should be, "Regularly". How's that for lacking in clarity? To try to put legs on that - I think that Communion is an crucial element of worship, both in obedience to Christ's command and in presenting an authorized illustration of Christ's work on the cross.

But, I don't think Communion needs to be done every week or service. It seems to me that we tend to get entrenched in routines awful easy and miss the sublime in the familiar. Would we approach the Table with the same awe and reverence if it happened all the time? Certainly we should... But would we pull it off?

The next was the issue of proper place: In what setting, and under what conditions, should Communion be administered? Should we be able to observe the Eucharist outside of an officiated church service...? Some people believe in 'Family Communion', where the father officiates a mini-service at home. Other folk believe this is occasionally appropriate, so long as the father is a pastor or elder of a church. Still others, like the author of the essay in "Give Praise", think that Communion observed outside of a formal, officiated worship service is bad.

I'm not even close to a conclusion here and don't want to venture into heresy... Still, it has always struck me that Christ chose bread to represent His flesh and wine for his blood. After all, there was probably lamb meat there because they had just celebrated the Passover.

I imagine bread and wine were part of nearly every meal the disciples ate on this earth. And I bet that every time one of them pulled a morsel of bread apart, they remembered His hands that night in the Upper Room. I'm sure every time they lifted a cup of wine to their lips, there was a flood of memories from the Last Supper and of their Lord on the cross. As they chewed/swallowed and considered how that food or drink was sustaining their physical frames, they were reminded of how their Savior was sustaining their soul day by day.

What a cool thing if we approached every meal with the same sense of Thanksgiving for both the physical provision and the deeper, spiritual one...

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