In the Evangelical Lutheran Worship, the Affirmation by the Assembly (Option B) begins:
Dear friends, we give thanks for the gift of baptism as we come before God to make public affirmation of baptism into Christ.
Let us pray.
Merciful God, we thank you that you have made us your own by water and the Word in baptism. You have called us to yourself, enlightened us with the gifts of your Spirit, and nourished us in the community of faith. Uphold us and all your servants in the gifts and promises of baptism, and unite the hearts of all whom you have brought to new birth. We ask this in the name of Christ.
The service continues as the assembly renounces
the devil and all the forces that defy God and the powers of this world that rebel against God followed by the Creed. Then comes the question...
Do you intend to continue in the covenant God made with you in holy baptism:
to live among God's faithful people...
To live among God's faithful people. It sounds so simple. Yet, statistics prove to us that God's faithful people are not gathering as we used to for worship, learning and fellowship.
One of the ways I include children in worship is to have them share in the Dismissal. They meet me in the entry way during the final verse of the last song. I count quietly. They shout, sometimes loudly, sometimes softly, "Go in peace, serve the Lord." To which the congregation responds, "Thanks be to God!"
Shortly after I left a previous congregation, I ran into a mom. She informed me that her daughter announced loudly after worship one day that the interim pastor did it wrong! That was her part and he did it. I suggested that the mom and child have a conversation with the new pastor explaining the tradition and to ask to help. Then I called the pastor and apologized for not leaving that tradition in my turnover notes!
"To live among God's faithful people" reminds us how important it is to be an active part of the body of Christ. "To live among God's faithful people" reminds us, as leaders, that we need to be intimately connected to those we serve. Each person is a valuable gift of God.
This month we are looking forward to Palm Sunday and Easter. Be sure to check out the resources at faithfulteaching.org, Facebook and Pinterest. If you have ideas to share, drop us a note.
Blessings on your journey,
Rev. Juli Lejman-Guy, President