Baptism and the Body of Christ

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and we were all made to drink of one Spirit…. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”  1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 26-27

This past Sunday we had the privilege of baptizing a baby at the 9:30am worship service.  At Faith UMC we are blessed that so many babies and children have been baptized recently.  United Methodists understand that in baptism we are adopted into the family of God.  As this article says, we “put on Christ” in baptism: http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.1697379/

Another way of talking about baptism is to say that we become part of the body of Christ, as the scripture above describes.  Baptism is about personal salvation but more than that, in baptism we are called to live as part of the body of Christ.  We are baptized into one body – Americans or Mexicans, Zimbabweans or Egyptians, Indians or Koreans.  1 Corinthians 12 reminds us that in baptism, we must pay attention to the whole body of Christ, because if one part of the body is honored, we all rejoice, and if one part of the body suffers, we all suffer together.

On Sunday September 22, as a worship service was concluding in Peshawar, Pakistan, a bomb went off, killing 80 worshipers.  Established in 1883, All Saints Church is one of the oldest Christian churches in Pakistan.  Christians make up between 2 – 4% of the population in Pakistan. 

Sometimes in the U.S. it is hard to remember that gathering to worship might be risky.  We have such freedom that gathering to worship can fall down our priority list.  But for one of our Faith UMC families, gathering to worship and remembering that in baptism we are called to be the body of Christ has taken on particular importance.  One of our Faith UMC families has family members who live in Peshawar and several who were killed in the attack on All Saints Church.  Now their family suffers grief and loss, and we suffer with them.

As much as we rejoice when one of our Faith UMC families has a baby, or suffer when someone has a family member who dies, we must remember that as the body of Christ we are part of a global body.  Rejoicing and suffering with Christians in other parts of the world is part of our responsibility when we take the vows of baptism.

How does being part of the body of Christ inform your prayers?

Thinking about the global nature of the church, how do you learn about Christians in other parts of the world?

Have you ever worshiped outside the U.S. – and if so, did it change how you think about being a Christian or how we worship?

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1 Comment

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One response to “Baptism and the Body of Christ

  1. Audrua

    I love hearing about the success of Christians around the world. I usually follow the joys and sorrows through many different twitter accounts.

    Going to Costa Rica this summer and growing up spending summer weeks in Mexico, I have a great appreciation for expressions of Christianity in Latin America. Worship there is much more expressive; no one cares if you can sing in tune or dance with rhythm , just as long as you’re doing it!

    The Christian life was meant to be a full body experience, not just feel good emotions or head knowledge. I think a lot of different cultures get that so much better than us in the Western church.

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