Holy Communion & Baptism
The Sacraments At Lydick Church:
Holy Communion and Baptism
Holy Communion (aka “The Lord’s Supper,” “Eucharist” and “The Holy Meal”) and Baptism are much loved parts of our worship. In them, we see the word of God visibly acted out before us.
“On the night He was betrayed…”begins the core of our meaningful Holy Communion liturgy. We feel anew our identification with the first disciples’ behavior that night, and so our own unworthiness to take part. But immediately Jesus said to His disciples (and thus to us), “Take, eat… do this, all of you.” And then we too do this, grateful for God’s forgiving grace.
Holy Communion means everything that eating together means: fellowship, community, grace, and sustenance; but it also includes both remembering the awe-inspiring sacrifice Jesus made for us on the Cross, and also actively experiencing Jesus Christ among us and in us, here & now.
We develop a growing desire to demonstrate our relationship to God by frequent and committed participation in our Lord’s Supper. But many of the first Methodists only experienced the full reality of God’s love while receiving Holy Communion. So we believe in “open communion,” that is, we welcome to our Lord’s Table anyone who is on that journey toward “saving faith,” without our judging their “fitness” or depth of Christian experience first. You certainly don’t have to be a member of Lydick Church to receive this, “Christ’s body and blood, given in love for you.” Jesus said, “Come,” so we say, “Come, and grow with us!”
Also Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and forbid them not.” So we encourage little ones to come forward with an adult and receive communion at their level of understanding (we tell the youngest, “We do this because Jesus loves us.”)
Our worship bulletin gives you exact practical instructions about how we’ll be doing Holy Communion that day; this is to help our guests feel at ease and welcome here in Communion. We share Holy Communion monthly, usually on the 2nd Sunday: often enough to keep us eager for it, but not so often that communion becomes routine and hum-drum. We also in summer 2010 are sharing Communion outdoors monthly in our new Prayer Garden.
The other sacrament we practice is Baptism. Baptism means everything that water means: life, birth, refreshment, death, and cleansing. It is the initiation of a person into God’s Life and Family. Baptism reminds us of the radical change that is required: to be a Christian doesn’t just come naturally. No, we must be converted, or born again into that new way of living that Jesus called “eternal life.” He said, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;” “Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent;” and “Sin pays certain wages: death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”
-John 10:28, 17:3 and Romans 6:23
Like most churches, we baptize adults, teens, and young children of parents who have first committed themselves to God, who promise to raise this child in the Church until he/she grows to accept Christ at “confirmation.” Whatever the age, we are baptized by the hand of another, which takes the focus off what we can do, and onto God: His loving, forgiving acts on our behalf. “By grace we are saved through (humble) faith: this is the gift of God… not by trusting in our own good works which would be boasting.”
We baptize with water in one of three ways (your choice): by sprinkling (symbolic of the biblical act of cleansing), or pouring (symbolizing the pouring out of the Holy Spirit since the Day of Pentecost when the Church really began: see Acts 2), or immersion (symbolic of drowning in a life of sin without God, then rising with Christ to new life experiencing & sharing God’s love).
We do not like to “re-baptize” after a formerly active Christian left the Church, but now has returned to a renewed commitment to Christ. We experience with all Christians that “all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” -Romans 3:23 We all are “prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the One I love,” and so any of us could feel a need to be re-baptized every month! That would cheapen the experience, and also it would wrongly imply that God has “disowned” us whenever we fall into sin. The great parable of “The Prodigal Son and His Father” reveals the wonderful truth that God (the “father”) remains faithful even when we are unfaithful!
See 2 Timothy 2:11-13, and 1 John 1:8-9.