I want to do something a little different today:
And invite any children to come up front with me.
We’re going to go “back to basics.”
Which isn’t just for kids:
But is helpful for all of us: regardless of age to go back to every once in a while.
And what better time, to go back to basics,
Then at a baptism!
Anybody know what kind of sign this is?
What does it mean?
When we see this shape on the side of the road, we know that we need to stop.
That’s what a symbol does.
With one simple shape we create a sign,
And a symbol communicates a specific meaning.
Signs and symbols are really important for us,
Because they help to communicate something that is sometimes hard to understand.
Sometimes its hard for us to put our faith into words,
And so God gives the church important signs to offer to people so that we might know that God loves and forgives us.
In the church, we call these important signs, “sacraments”
They are holy symbols that Jesus gave us to help us recognize God’s action in our lives.
One sacrament is baptism.
And we are going to experience and celebrate that sacrament today.
In baptism we take a little “bath”
And God cleans us up,
And reminds us how much he loves us.
Another sacrament is communion:
And we’ll experience and celebrate that sacrament today too!
We eat the bread and the wine,
Which are symbols reminding us that Jesus gave his entire life to us.
When we eat the bread and the wine,
We are putting Jesus into our bodies,
So that we might become more like him:
It’s a reminder to us of how much God loves us,
And how much God wants us to love others.
But lets go back to baptism:
The church has lots of symbols for baptism.
One is (of course) water.
And another one is the shell.
In the early church,
Christians often used a shell to pour water over the heads of people being baptized.
The shell also represents the protection that baptism gives us as we travel through life:
Much like a shell protects creatures in the sea.
Jesus told the first disciples that those who believe and are baptized will be saved.
In other words, Jesus told his followers to use water to symbolize that those who trust in him are washed clean, and are given new life: Forever.
So for us:
Seeing a symbol for water, or the shape of a shell,
Is kind of like seeing a stop sign.
When we see these symbols,
We can stop.
We can think of our baptisms,
And remember how much God loves us.
I’m inviting everyone to take home a seashell:
As a reminder to you of the symbols that God gives us to recognize and remember his love.
And the seashell is the perfect symbol:
Not just because of it’s relationship to water.
But every single shell is unique. No two are exactly alike.
Just like us.
Each one of us is unique:
No two are exactly alike:
Yet we are all children of God,
made in God’s image:
And God loves us ALL.
And don’t ever forget that.
Dear God, thank you for giving us ways to recognize your love. Help us to stop and remember that your love cleanses us like water. Amen.
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