You’ve got the guide, and you’re living the practices. Maybe you've even shared your story and read about the experiences of other congregations. Where do you go from here? We will continue to provide you with additional resources for implementing Invitation to Christ in your church.
Leading worship from the font or the table
One of the practices recommended by Invitation to Christ is to lead portions of the worship service from the font or the table. The Rev. Marney Wasserman guides us through the whys and hows of this practice and offers suggestions for how this might look in your particular congregation.
The Rev. Wasserman writes:
When we look at the order for Sunday morning’s worship, and start to imagine a service that is led not just from the pulpit, but from pulpit, font and table, we find some obvious places to begin. Baptisms happen at the font, the Lord’s Supper at the communion table. The reading and preaching of Scripture surely belongs, both theologically and practically, to the pulpit, or pulpit and lectern together (even when, in some contexts, it may work to preach from the midst of the congregation). But beyond that, what other decisions might be “appropriate” to make about who leads what and from where?
If Word and sacrament in general, and baptism in particular, give to the church both its identity and its mission, then there are two clear places in the Service for the Lord’s Day with an inherent connection to baptism, places where our identity before God is confirmed, and we are challenged to do Christ’s work in the world.
The first is the Confession of Sin and Declaration of Forgiveness, which tell us who we are as forgiven sinners, beloved of God. The second is the Charge and Benediction, which send us out into ministry. Imagine Sunday morning this way …
Read the rest of the Rev. Wasserman's article, “Leading from Font, Table, and Pulpit,” from the May 2007 issue of Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching & the Arts.
What’s the connection between the water of the font and the walk of faith?
By David Roquemore, pastor
The Camp Hill Presbyterian Church in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Once a group was asked about baptism, and an elderly woman blurted out, “I wasn't there!” She was baptized as an infant and has no memory of the event at all. It means little to her life and experience of faith. This is true of most people. If you ask a representative group of Presbyterians about the beginnings of their faith, you will hear from people who grew up in the Church, or a Christian home, or who met Jesus Christ at camp, or perhaps in a college fellowship of some kind. Almost never will you hear anyone say, “I am baptized, and my faith flows from the font.”
Yet we know, theologically, that faith is connected to baptism in vital ways. I have made this a prime part of preaching, so much that parishioners have accused me of “drilling for water” even in texts that don't have a clear baptismal connection. There is a real connection between the water of the font and the walk of faith, which can be brought out in several ways.
Baptism is the source of our identity as Christians. Who are we? We are the baptized! There are other ways to answer the question: we are people called by God, we are people who believe in Jesus Christ, but each of these has a baptismal connection. In the water of the font we are given our identity, we are named, and we find ourselves connected to Christ, grafted into Christ. In a postmodern world that sees identity as a problem, or as an option that one may change on a whim, having a clear identity is helpful for faith, giving faith a direction and a compass in a changing landscape.
Baptism is a source of comfort and hope. Paul in Romans 6 declares that we have been buried with Christ in our baptism, taking the image of immersion to be burial. We are buried, and just as certainly as that has happened, so also we will certainly, surely be raised in a resurrection like his. Baptism is a hedge against the uncertainties and doubts that life poses to faith from day to day. We find the assurance that none of these will separate us from the love of God who calls us through the water. As the hymn says, “God has been this way before.”
Order Call to Worship
Subscribe to Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching & the Arts for worship planning resources and insightful articles on topics related to worship, including Invitation to Christ.
The prayers provided here are designed to assist worship leaders and planners in their efforts to engage the five sacramental practices recommended in Invitation to Christ. We hope these resources will facilitate deeper and more regular reflection on the sacraments in your community of faith.
Eucharistic Prayers for Easter, Year B
Eucharistic Prayers for Advent, Year A