Being baptized is not just a one-day celebration with candles, water and family. The day of our baptism is the day we are connected with God’s word and plan.
The sacrament of Holy Baptism is one of the means of grace of the ELCA and is for individuals of all ages. Baptism draws us closer to God, the Holy Spirit and the congregations we were baptized into.
“Baptism is not simply water. Instead it is water used according to God’s command and connected with God’s word,” said Martin Luther in The Small Catechism.
Although we are only baptized once in a sanctuary, there are many ways to celebrate the day of our baptism in our homes.
Family prayer service: On the anniversary of the baptism of a family member, gather together and hold a prayer service to reflect on the meaning of baptism and the journey of the individual. During the service light the baptismal candle, fill a bowl with water, dip your fingers in the “font” and remember the day you were baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Use Scripture readings from Romans 6:1-11, Matthew 28:18-20 or Titus 3:4-7. This small family prayer service will be a time of reflection and celebration of the baptism of your family member.
Service: A baptism is a way to stay connected to God’s word. Use a baptismal anniversary to think about what you can do as a baptized Lutheran to give back to others and share the word of God. This might be service to others or reflective time for you. Take time to volunteer at a local charity, give more time to the church or spend more time reflecting on your journey as a Lutheran.
Conversation: Since many members of the church were baptized as infants, conversation is an important part of learning about this sacrament. Listen to stories of when family members were baptized. If anyone in your family was baptized as an adult, ask them about the decision to be baptized. Anniversaries of baptism are important for learning about yourself and those around you and how their faith and baptism affects them. Talk about why your baptism is important to you and what it means to you as a Lutheran.
Celebration: Lastly, it wouldn’t be an anniversary without a celebration. Take time to focus on yourself and your relationship with the church while eating a piece of delicious cake. The celebration can take place with family members or with your congregation. A celebration like this is a time for reflection and praise for all members of the ELCA.
Ultimately, an anniversary of a baptism is a time for reflection, prayer, conversation and celebration.
Take the time around your anniversary to focus on God’s purpose for you and how you live out the word of God.
You might also want to read:
A user’s guide to baptism — something for everyone
A special baptism
Blindness and baptism