Water and Spirit (abstract)

The project will reveal the significance of the sacrament of baptism in the work of the church, both regarding the baptismal candidate as well as the catholic church.  Jewish history reveals purification ceremonies that, with the baptism of Jesus, have marked a critical moment of the believer in a bath of both water and Holy Spirit.  This moment crosses denominational lines to be an ecumenical awareness of God’s grace for His people.  However, the sacrament of baptism does not involve the candidate alone but is an opportunity for the church to reaffirm its baptismal covenant at each event.  For liturgical churches, there is a vow within the baptismal covenant promising guidance and partnership from the church to the baptized.  That vow has been forfeited over time and has caused the process of Christian formation to be lost; thus, the church has failed the church.  However, there is hope for the body of Christ to reclaim its vow and restore its commitment to this most holy sacrament.  Fred P. Edie in Book, Bath, Table, and Time illustrates that baptism is an acknowledgment, a movement, of “being” for the baptized into “doing” for both baptized and church body.  This acknowledgment is the pivot point for the growth and future of the church.  Simon Chan in Liturgical Theology rightly noted, “Strong martial language is used, for baptism is part of a cosmic struggle to reclaim humanity and the world for Christ” (118).

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