One of the privileges of being an Anglican is that we are “middle of the road”, and this especially with regard to Baptisms. I have had the honour of baptising Clara in a pool, a full-immersion baptism when she was five-years old. I have also baptised several other people, from infants through to adults (I do not want to boast, I mention this to show the range of baptisms within the Anglican Church).
We have come to think of baptism (or christening) as a rite-of-passage that children must undergo to ensure their salvation. In reality this is only the tip of the iceberg. Article 27 of the “Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion” that we as Anglicans adhere to states:
BAPTISM is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or new Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God. The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.
This means that by baptism we are accepted into the body of Christ (this is why baptisms generally form part of our public acts of worship). The vows we make at the baptism include that we will be loyal members of His church. As a member of Christ’s body (His church), we all have a function to perform (see 1 Corinthians 12: 12 – 27) irrespective of how great or small it might be.
As we focus on Stewardship in the next few weeks we will be looking at time and talents, or more specifically, how we use our time and talents to God’s glory. One of the frustrations that church leaders have is that, in general, only 20% of the body are actively involved in the ministry, and do the majority of the work (80% thereof if the pareto principle applies). This is fine in the secular world, but not in the church where we ALL are the body of Christ, and therefore we ALL have some part to play – big or small, background or foreground, quietly active or very visible.
We are empowered by the Holy Spirit for the part(s) we play, as we join together to make the church (not only the services) function to the glory of God. Together we play to an audience of one, our Lord and God!
The challenge is to determine the part that you are called to play, how are you to be involved, how do you contribute to the body? Through our involvement we keep the body healthy and fit, we encourage one another in our ministries, we practice and train, building confidence, to use our gift and talents in the world, where we can glorify God and let Jesus be visible through all we do.
May God bless you as you bless others by using your talents to God’s glory.