Below are the words that Elder Davis spoke during the baptism of Clyde last month (transcribed to the best of my ability...). And, in case you are interested, you can also read the messages from the baptisms of Amelia, Susannah and Harriet, and more about the family baptism gown that Clyde was sporting. Our kids all thought it was simply hilarious that our baby boy was wearing a dress...
(Just following in the footsteps of his great great grandfather.)
Our friends' baby, who also got baptized on the same day as Clyde, was also wearing a handmade family gown -- but hers had just been finished. How neat that both babies were wearing such beautiful gowns, both lovingly handmade, but over 100 years apart in age! And how fun to imagine how many future generations of babies might wear the newly made gown. "...to you and your descendants after you..."
**I missed the very first bit of the message so my written text here jumps in where the video recording started**
...God says to Abraham in Genesis 17 “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.”
God makes that covenant with Abraham and with his descendants which of course were his children. Throughout the Bible children are seen as belonging to the Lord. In Ezekiel 16:21 God condemns the Israelites because they have offered their children to idols. He says to them: “You have slain My children and offered them up to them by causing them to pass through the fire.” The Old Testament children born into the covenant people belonged to God.
And at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled the church Peter preached to the Jews who were present and were amazed at what happened. They responded to his words in Acts chapter 2 with “What shall we do?” and Peter's reply was “Repent, let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” In the midst is the promise they are so familiar with: to you and to your children, and he expands it to include the Gentiles who afar off. God claims the children as His own.
Today we rejoice as we welcome two more covenant children into the church. And we do that through baptism. Baptism is administered by the church in obedience to the command of Christ that the nations should be converted, baptized, and taught all that Christ is commanding. Baptism is the sign and seal of our union with Christ, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and of the resulting adoption and cleansing from sin. By baptism we are initiated into a covenant of unity and made members of the body of Christ. These children are too young to hear and understand what we are saying. But there are many of you here who were baptized at this age and now you are able to understand you and all others need to remember the fact of our baptisms. By baptism the name of the triune God is placed upon us and we must not bear that name in vain, but we must improve upon our baptism by living in faithfulness to our God.
- Do you acknowledge your child's need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?
- Do you claim God's covenant promises on their behalf, and do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation, as you do for your own?
- Do you now unreservedly commit this child to God and promise, humble reliance upon divine grace, that you will endeavor to set before them a godly example, that you will pray with and for them, that you will teach them the doctrines of our holy faith, and that you will strive, by all the means of God's appointment, to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
Do you as a congregation undertake the responsibility of supporting and assisting these parents in the Christian nurture of this child?
Our merciful and loving Father, we thank you for your word, and the sacraments of grace by which you have given us such gracious promises concerning our children. And that in mercy you call them to yourself and engraft them into your church through baptism. We now present these children to you. We ask you to receive them, endue them with the Holy Spirit, and ever keep them as your own. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Clyde Emmett Dodson, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. The blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, descend upon you and dwell in your heart forever. Amen.
These children are now received into Christ's church. And you, the people in this congregation receiving these children, promise with God's help to be faithful to the end that they may confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and come at last to His eternal kingdom.