Through the Holy Baptism liturgy, it will be shown how it shapes our Christian worldview.
Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
The liturgy of Easter is a baptismal liturgy. Baptism is the start of the Christian life or Christian philosophy. Baptism gives a sense of direction guiding the baptized throughout his entire existence, supplying all answers to all questions. Christ becomes his telos, his end point. If Christ is our aim, He leads us to that good end, un-chaining us from our sin, the devil, the world. It is by the risen Christ that we are given this inauguration into the Kingdom of God. Baptism is the restoration of true life, the life that was lost in sin.
There is one Body and one Spirit; there is one hope in God’s call to us; One Lord, on faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all.
There is truly only One who can restore us to who we were meant to be. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit renews us and transforms us. It is in the Body of Christ that we are restored.
The baptism continues with the presentation of the candidates (either infant or adult). This presentation is brought before the church body. It is meant to raise the person in the community of the church, the ekklesia. Because it is a unity of faith, hope and love. Baptism is not a solo act. It is by the church nurturing its people in the unity of the Holy Spirit that the Christian grows.
Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God? Do you renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God? Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God?
The baptized are asked to renounce Satan and evil spiritual forces. “…we meet the Devil at the very moment we make the decision to follow Christ. Liberation from demonic power is the beginning of man’s restoration” (Of Water and Spirit, Schmemann 23, 26). In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the newly baptized is told to spit on Satan. Many today in the “modern” world do not realize there is a demonic power against them. In ancient time, cults and pagan worship were everywhere. It seems logical to man in those days to renounce the demonic worship. Today, we seek happiness, success, self-fulfillment, freedom in similar ways the ancient person did. We just don’t build overt places of worship to gods anymore. Our palaces of sex and pornography (on the Internet, clubs, sex-trafficing) are either hidden or disguised as something else, but still remain as places of demonic worship. For every person is religious; every person worships. It’s just a matter of what they hunger and thirst for. Self-fulfillment and success in greed or avarice (coveting what others have). Our loves and appetites are still out of order. Man has not changed at all. We still crave what we want and desire, hoping it will fulfill our restless hearts. St. Augustine spoke much of this in his Confessions. Freedom today is to do whatever one has the power to do. It leads to self-indulgence of what God has made and devaluing His creation. The dignity of another person or animal or resource is put aside to fulfill one’s OWN need or desire or longing.
In short, we battle against and reject the demonic in its lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride of life.
Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior? Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love? Do you promise to follow and obey him as your Lord?
In turning from Satan, we turn toward Christ. We make allegiance with Christ. His life, his joy, his peace. The decision we make to follow Christ is faithfulness, unconditional commitment, a total belonging to someone who is to be obeyed and followed no matter what happens.
Then the Creed is recited after a series of questions. We are reminded of what we believe. That Christ is the Son of God. That the trinity is three person, yet One God. In the forgiveness of sins, resurrection of the body and life everlasting. A commitment in receiving the Eucharist. We commit to proclaim the Word of God, the Good News in word and example. To serve others and love them as yourself. And respect the dignity of every person.
We commit ourselves to the life-giving Christ. Baptism is the sacrament of forgiveness because Christ is Forgiveness. Man prefers anything as oppose to God—the world, the self. “This is the only real sin, and in it all sins become natural, inevitable. This sin destroys the true life of man. It deviates life’s course from its only meaning and direction” (For the Life of the World, Schmemann 78). To believe in Christ is to repent. “In baptism both repentance and forgiveness find their fulfillment. In baptism man wants to die as a sinful man and he is given that death, and in baptism man wants the newness of life as forgiveness, and he is given it” (Schmemann 78).