As Christians, we mark various milestones in Jesus’s life and ministry with seasons and celebrations throughout the year. This pattern of observances is sometimes called “the church year” or “Christian year”. We think of it as a cycle of commemoration and witness that links the historical origins of our faith with our living experience as people of faith in today’s world.
Worship activities symbolizing our special connection with Jesus and the church include the Sacraments of Holy Communion (also called the Lord’s Supper) and Baptism. At Northlawn UM Church, we celebrate Holy Communion monthly, usually the first Sunday of the month. Baptism of children and adults may take place at any time during the year.
Each person receives a small piece of bread, which he or she dips into grape juice before eating. The bread and juice symbolize the bread and wine Jesus shared with his disciples at his last meal with them the evening before his crucifixion. At the time, Jesus said the bread represented his body and the wine represented his blood, as well as God’s promise to his followers of everlasting life. By re-enacting this meal, we express our willingness to follow Jesus and express our unity with all his followers. As United Methodists, we offer Holy Communion to all who love Christ, repent their sins, and live in peace with each other. Children old enough to understand the purpose and nature of Holy Communion are welcome to take part. Gluten-free bread is available each time we serve Holy Communion.
The person being baptized (or the parents of a child being baptized) professes their desire to be connected to the community of Christ as represented by the church and congregation. The congregation also pledges to care for and nurture the person being baptized. Water is sprinkled or poured on the person’s head to symbolize new life, God’s love, and the forgiveness of sins. While Baptism may take place during worship any time of year, individuals are baptized just once in their life.