Are there any anniversaries of major life events that you celebrate or aim to intentionally remember/commemorate each year? If so, why & how do you do so?
This Sunday, we continued our series Why, where we’re diving into your submitted questions. This week, we explored the question, “Why baptism?”
First, reflect on the nature of baptism itself.
Have you been baptized? If so, what led you to make that decision? What did it mean to you then? How about now?
Why is it important that the Church commemorates someone’s initiation into the community & faith? What positive roles can such rituals play in a person or community’s life?
Next, read Acts 19:1-7. Here, Paul encounters several new Christians who are struggling with the purpose of baptism in their spiritual lives. In particular, they believe that having been baptized is all that’s needed for following Jesus. However, Paul informs them that water baptism (or “John’s baptism”) is actually meant to be just the first step in following Jesus & being transformed by the Holy Spirit. In doing so, Paul upholds baptism as both an important singular event &, simultaneously, just a first step in a lifelong pursuit of growth.
Why is this understanding of rituals important to remember? What happens to our spirituality if we begin to view rituals like baptism as “finish lines” instead of singular steps in a much larger journey?
How can we both celebrate baptism as uniquely important in our individual stories without overexaggerating its transformative power or importance?
Close by reflecting on important events in your own story that are worth celebrating.
What major events, rituals, or moments come to mind when you reflect on how you became who you are today? In hindsight, can you recognize how they were both critically important & just one of many steps that made you into who you are today?
How might remembering that event, ritual, or moment help you foster continued growth in the present? How might it motivate you to continue pursuing transformation in this next season?
Coming Out of the Hole
Take time to reflect on the Sunday sermon & how this week’s teaching might speak into your daily life.
- If you haven’t been baptized, then reflect on why that is. What’s holding you back? What might taking that step in your faith mean for your story? Who can you talk to about what baptism is & why it’s important?
- If you have been baptized, then take time to remember that experience. How old were you? Why did you decide to get baptized? How did you feel before & after? What role does your baptism play in your spirituality today?
- Identify if there is anyone in your life right now that might be ready to get baptized. If you have a relationship with them, then consider talking to them about your own baptism experience.
Journal, reflect, & pray on how God might be speaking to you through each week’s teaching. Share your experience with your growth group next week!
New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen
Falling Upward by Richard Rohr
Coming Up This Week:*
Sunday, February 11th: Join us next Sunday for week 5 of our series Why, where we’ll be answering YOUR questions on faith & spirituality!
* Please see mye3.org for details.