Marked Children - Acts 16, 1 Corinthians 7, HCLD 27
The fourth service plan in a Pentecost series, concentrating specifically on baptism of infants.
Also in this Series
This series of worship services explores the nature and the life of the Christian Church as the place where faith is fed and nurtured.
Theme of the Service
Last week we focused generally on the sacrament of baptism, and this service concentrates specifically on baptism of infants. While some Christian do not believe baptism should be administered to infants, others find infant baptism emphasizes God's role in salvation in a powerful way. This service does not intend to enter this debate. Instead, it focuses on the meaning of infant baptism, what it says about God, our children, and our families.
* * * * *
WE GATHER BEFORE GOD
Prelude: "Rejoice, O Pure in Heart" [see
or: "Wash, O God, Our Sons and Daughters"
Introit: "Come to the Water," John Foley
*The Call to Worship
In Christ, the God of heaven has made his home on earth.
Christ dwells among us and is one with us.
Highest of all creation, he lives among the least.
He journeys with the rejected and welcomes the weary.
Come now, all who thirst,
and drink the water of life.
Come now, all who hunger,
and be filled with good things.
Come now, all who seek,
and be warmed by the fire of love. TWS, 1.2.35
*Song of Praise: "God Is Here" PH 461:1-3, RN 5:1-3, UMH 660:1-3, PsH 516:1-3, TWC 701:1-3
*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting:
Brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, who do you trust?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Grace, mercy and peace to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
*Song of Praise: "God is Here" PH 461:4, RN 5:4, UMH 660:4, PsH 516:4, TWC 701:4
WE ARE RENEWED IN GOD'S GRACE
The Call to Confession
The Prayer of Confession
Sung: "Wash Me Through and Through" SNC 239
The Assurance of Pardon
Our Song of Dedication: "To God Be the Glory" PH 485:1, PsH 473:1-2, RN 258:1-2, TH 55:1-2, TWC 72:1-2
God's Guide to Grateful Living
GOD SPEAKS FROM HIS WORD
*Song of Preparation: "Our Children, Lord, in Faith and Prayer" PsH 270:1-3
Or: " Wash , O God, Our Sons and Daughters" SNC 238 [see
The Prayer for Illumination
Reading our Confession of Faith [see
The Readings from Scripture: Acts 16:11-15, 25-34 and 1 Corinthians 7:14b
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
Sermon: Marked Children
The Prayer of Application
*Our Affirmation of Faith [see
WE RESPOND TO GOD'S WORD
The Children's Moment [see
With Our Celebration of Baptism [see
God's Invitation and Promises
Our Response of Faith
The Prayer of Thanksgiving
Anthem: "How Shall They Know," Natalie Sleeth [see
Reaffirmation of Baptism Vows, SNC 240 [see
Renunciations and Affirmations
The Charge and Blessing
*Song of Faith: "I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry" WOV 770
The Prayers of the People [see
The Offertory Prayer
The Offering of Music: "I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry" [see
We offer our gifts for..
WE LEAVE WITH GOD'S PRESENCE
*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!
*Song: "You Are Our God; We Are Your People" PsH 272:1-4
Postlude: "Trumpet Tune in D Major," David Johnson
* - You are invited to stand.
This sermon should build on last week's message about baptism by focusing specifically on the baptism of infants. A key starting point is the difference between "Child Dedication" and "Child Baptism." Practically, baptism requires water while dedication does not. Theologically, baptism focuses on God speaking to his people whereas dedication centers on parents speaking to God (and the church).
Agency is also the key difference between infant and "believer's" baptism. Although few would argue that God is not acting in "believer's" baptism, God's action is particularly profound in infant baptism. The helplessness of the child clearly shows the necessity of God's action. The child does not earn adoption into the family of God; rather, God's promises extend despite weakness. God is the primary agent in our salvation and our baptism, which is clearly symbolized in infant baptism.
In infant baptism, as in Old Testament circumcision, God's faithfulness across generations is emphasized. Such is the impact of Genesis 17:7, "I will establish my covenant.between me and you and your descendents after you." The same picture is seen in Acts 16:15, "when she and the members of her household were baptized." and in Acts 16:33, ".he and all his family were baptized." See also 1 Corinthians 1:16 and 7:14. God's covenant promises are to parents and their children.
Our baptismal identity also gives us a larger family; baptism represents being adopted into the family of God. Following the baptism, the congregation responds by welcoming their new brother or sister through promising to nurture and teach the child and encourage the parents.
Infant baptism has messages that point in three directions. To those baptized it is a message of reassurance that God's promises are not dependent on their action. As they grow and struggle, they are held in God's love even though they will be held accountable for their personal response of faith and obedience to the promises of God. To the parents it is both a message of encouragement and of challenge. Children are considered holy and therefore our task is to disciple them for the Lord. To the church as the family of God, it is a call to participate faithfully with parents in teaching the new generation to love and serve the Lord.
Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church,
Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)
The suggestions for prelude approach the service from two different directions. The suggestions based on "Rejoice, O Pure in Heart" call people to worship as an intergenerational body of young and old in the spirit of the opening hymn "God Is Here!" The resources on "Wash, O God, Our Sons and Daughters" focus on the theme of infant baptism.
MARION ["Rejoice, O Pure in Heart"]
Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving, set 5. Morningstar MSM-10-755  (E-M)
Haan, Raymond H. Four Hymns of Rejoicing. Morningstar MSM-10-518  (E-M)
Jordan, Alice. A Joyful Noise. Broadman 4570-62  (E-M)
Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 6. SMP KK339  (E, adaptable to piano)
Peeters, Flor. Hymn Preludes for the Liturgical Year, vol. 6. Peters 6406  (M)
Sinzheimer, Max. Twelve Hymn Preludes and Improvisations. Concordia 97-4769  (E-M)
Innes, John. Majesty. Hope 269  (E-M)
BEACH SPRING ["Wash, O God, Our Sons and Daughters"]
Albrecht, Timothy. Grace Notes VIII. Augsburg 11-10970  (E-M)
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 7. AMSI SP-104  (E-M)
Haan, Raymond H. Be Present Now. Morningstar MSM-10-566  (E-M)
Held, Wilbur. Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ, vol. 4. Concordia 97-7032  (E-M)
Held, Wilbur. Seven Settings of American Folk Hymns. Concordia 97-5829  (E-M)
Linker, Janet. Sunday Morning Suite. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7560-6  (E-M)
Wold, Wayne L. Augsburg Organ Library - Lent. Augsburg 11-11036  (E-M)
Wood, Dale. Wood Works, bk. 2. SMP KK400  (E-M)
Porter, Rachel Trelstad. Day by Day. Augsburg 11-10772  (M)
Leavitt, John. How Sweet the Sound. CPH 97-6891  (M)
Hopson, Hal H. Reflections on Beach Spring. Genevox 4184-18  (3-5 octaves, E-M)
The introit "Come to the Water" by John Foley S.J. is published by OCP 9489 . It is scored for SATB, congregation, piano, guitar and solo instrument (E-M). A congregation only setting can be found in SNC 234.
Alternative harmonizations for "Wash, O God, Our Sons and Daughters" can be found in:
Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Busarow, Donald. All Praise to You, Eternal God. Augsburg 11-9076 
Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations, bk. 5. Ludwig O-14 
Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Porter, Rachel Trelstad. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 
The anthem "How Will They Know" by Natalie Sleeth is published by Sonos S044 . It is scored for SATB and keyboard (E-M).
Suggestions for offertory are based on the song of response following the reaffirmation of our baptism.
WATERLIFE ["I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry"]
Albrecht, Mark. Timeless Hymns of Faith. Augsburg 11-10863  (E-M)
Larson, Katherine Jordahl. Borning Cry. Augsburg 11-10517  (3-4 octaves, M)
The postlude suggestion "Trumpet Tune in D Major" by David N. Johnson is published by Augsburg 11-805  (E-M).
1. It would be ideal if you were able to schedule a baptism for this service. If this is not possible, we encourage you to include the reaffirmation of baptismal vows. We have included both in the liturgy provided here. You may wish to include both. They are located after the sermon as the response to the Word. Parents of infants, however, rarely want to wait until after the sermon for baptism so you may want to consider the baptism earlier in the service and the reaffirmation of baptismal vows after the sermon. For information on structuring the service of baptism, consult The Worship Sourcebook, Section 6, pages 249ff.
2. If you are unable to celebrate a baptism at this service, consider placing the baptism font (with water in it) in the lobby/narthex for the day. It will heighten the awareness of baptism. Encourage parents to use this as a teaching time with their children. Let the children see and touch the water. Use it to explain to the children that they were baptized and what it means for them.
3. We encourage you to use the Children's Moment to speak to the children about how baptism shows God's promises to us and how we are all members of the family of God through our baptism. Some congregations invite the children up front to watch the baptism. In this setting, children can be reminded of their baptism as well as be introduced to the child, their newest brother or sister in the family of God. It may also be helpful to explore the significance of being part of the family of God and our roles in it.
4. We offer the following litanies for this service. These may be read before the sermon in conjunction with the Scripture readings, or they can be an affirmation of faith as a response to the Word. The articles from the Belgic Confession of Faith are reformulated so they are in litany form for congregational use. [To reprint for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom use, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI. www.crcna.org. Reprinted with permission.]
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 27, Q&A 74
Should infants, too, be baptized?
Infants as well as adults are in God's covenant and are his people.
They, no less than adults, are promised
the forgiveness of sin through Christ's blood
and the Holy Spirit who produces faith.
Therefore, by baptism, the mark of the covenant,
infants should be received into the Christian church
and should be distinguished from the children of unbelievers.
This was done in the Old Testament by circumcision,
which was replaced in the New Testament by baptism.
Belgic Confession of Faith, article 34b
Should our children be baptized too?
Yes, we believe our children ought to be baptized
and sealed with the sign of the covenant,
as little children were circumcised in Israel
on the basis of the same promises made to our children.
Christ has shed his blood no less
for washing the little children of believers than he did for adults.
Is the significance of Baptism, then, similar to circumcision?
Yes, baptism does for our children
what circumcision did for the Jewish people.
That is why Paul calls baptism the "circumcision of Christ."
4. The Prayers of the People for this week should reflect the concern of the Christian church for the welfare and responsibilities of the home and family. Craft it as a distinctively intergenerational prayer; be sensitive to the needs of young parents who carry large child-rearing responsibilities, children and youth who must make discerning decisions, parents of teenagers, the special circumstances that some families may face, the role of the church in educating the children, and the concern of the church for those who are or may be unfaithful to their baptism.