Baptism in the Didache

Baptism is one of the earliest and most important rituals within Christianity. Have you ever been curious as to how early Christians practiced baptism?

The Didache is one of the earliest Christian documents not found in the New Testament. “Didache” means teaching, and is short for “The Lord’s Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”. It describes early Christian ethics, practices, and order, including how they practiced baptism. It provides instruction as follows:

“And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.”

What I find fascinating about this instruction is its flexibility. There is an obvious preference for full immersion in cool, running water, but if circumstances don’t permit that, no sweat, just use what you have available, the simple act of pouring warm water upon the head is enough. It may not have quite the same symbolic resonance as full immersion but what matters most is the intent. How refreshing. I wish all Christians would take such a gracious attitude.

Prayers For Joy And Laughter

A prayer from Knowing Jesus that I hope will brighten your day.

Prayers For Joy And Laughter

Dear Lord Jesus, there are so many sad and troublesome things to face in the world today, which too often cause our hearts to become weighed down with difficulties and doubts – but I pray that Your joy would fill my heart and strengthen my soul.. and that times of joyful laughter would replace those seasons of weeping and hardship.

I pray that in Christ I may be clothed in strength and dignity, wisdom and grace and that I may be enabled to laugh in the storms and not to fear the future, knowing that our times are in Your hands and You have promised to draw near to each one of us.. and be with us in every circumstance of life that may come our way..

I pray that Your joy and laughter may flow through me to others who are facing similar difficulties and hardships – and that together we may maintain an ever deepening trust in You as we look for Your any day return to take us to be with Yourself – this I ask in Jesus name,

Amen

The efficacy of ritual

Interacting with Pagans prompts me on occasion to consider the function and efficacy of ritual. I am not entirely comfortable with Catholics sacramentalism but I’m also seeing limitations with the way Protestants speak of “ordinances” and wonder if we’ve sometimes tossed the baby out with the bathwater. If we see mental assent as sufficient for salvation we’re being awfully dualistic. Shouldn’t we be approaching it more holistically? I am beginning to wonder if preaching the gospel, praising God, breaking bread together, gathering together, and baptising one another should not all be considered “expressions of faith”, and as such, “means of grace”. It’s not that God can’t confer grace through other means, it’s just that it pleases God to frequently act through these means. I am not at all comfortable with the way that the sinner’s prayer and/or altar call seem to have gazumped baptism in many baptist churches. Something is seriously wrong with that picture. When I think of baptism as a kinaesthetic expression of faith it kind of makes more sense for me though. Baptism isn’t a work or the law, it’s an act of gift reception.

Praying through our senses

Some creative prayer ideas from Methodist.org.uk:

1/ Rock of salvation

Hold stones or glass beads to symbolise a hard problem; place it near a cross.

2/ Light of the World

Scented tea lights placed in front of a newspaper (to pray for those in the news)

3/ Fruit of the Spirit

Drink fruit juices which have been re-labelled joy, peace, love or patience, and as you drink ask God for that gift of the Spirit