Scripture Reading for July 10, 2011

Acts of the Apostles 8: 26-40

26 Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go towards the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a wilderness road.) 27So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and
was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29Then
the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.’ 30So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ 31He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:

‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer,  so he does not open his mouth. 33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.  Who can describe his generation?  For his life is taken away from the earth.’

34The eunuch asked Philip, ‘About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ 35Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to
prevent me from being baptized?’ 38He commanded the chariot to stop,
and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip
baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
___________________________________________________

Questions:

1.  What were the traditions surrounding baptism in the tradition in which you
grew up? (Infant baptism, adult baptism, etc.)

2.  If you have had children baptized, what did it mean to you to have them
baptized? Why did you do it?

3. What role does the memory of your baptism (or knowing you were baptized) hold
in your daily life?

Mr. Shannon Kearns
Youth Activities Coordinator

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Plymouth Congregational Church is a progressive faith community grounded in the Christian tradition. We are spiritual, loving, relevant and transforming.
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2 Responses to Scripture Reading for July 10, 2011

  1. Joan Wicklund says:

    I grew up at Plymouth so baptism for me has never been something that “has” to be done. For me it was a traditional spiritual step my husband and I took to afirm our intentions to raise our child as a Christian. Although I don’t believe baptism is a requisite step for entrance to God’s presence, it still has enough of an urgent appeal to me that when my son visited with my grandson a week after he was born I asked them to baptize him at Plymouth as I knew they did not attend church at home.

  2. Paul Price says:

    I was baptized into the Catholic church as an infant; traditional for that denomination. I have, of course, no memory of it. I have seen adult Catholic converts baptized as well. Catholicism has also had-this may be changing-a strong belief in purgatory. From this viewpoint, it has been my understanding that infant baptism was, in part, an adaptation to high infant mortality rates before the advent of more advanced medicine, and wanting to provide a method for the infant to avoid purgatory. This, of course, depends on a particular and peculiar interpretation of “original sin” and “divine justice” that consigned an unbaptized infant to purgatory. I presume there was a celebration of some sort around my baptism. There was the naming of god-parents (whom I can’t name now), inviting of guests (usually relatives) to the baptismal ceremony, followed by a special dinner or brunch, etc. This is what I observed for younger cousins and was taken for granted by the extended family.

    I am certain that my parents sincerely desired my baptism. However, it has had little to no impact on my daily life and only resonates in a weird way when I think back to the event I have no memory of. At Pride this year, I was at a booth staffed by protesting Catholic LGBT folk who had a petition to sign supporting marriage equality. I told them I was no longer a practicing Catholic and involved in another Church. I was then asked if I had been baptized into the Catholic Church. My impulsive response was “is this a screening of me?” I signed the petition. This is reminiscent of having attended Masses with relatives or friends in recent years and been repulsed by the priest asking attendees before the distribution of communion to signal to the distributor if they are not Catholic. If not, people were instructed to cross their arms on their chests and receive a blessing instead. I have proceeded as “normal” as my own albeit silent protest and not all of the presiding priests have put this as a requirement.

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