With your permission, I am going to interrupt the theme we have been working on so far. I am doing this especially for those readers who might belong or have belonged to Christian Communities.
When I say Christian Communities, I am referring to those across denominational divides.
You will notice that in the previous chapters I have made no mention of two practices that the greater majority of these communities hold fast. These are ‘Baptism’ and ‘Holy Communion’ (or ‘Breaking of Bread’ as it is often called).
My reason for not mentioning these topics before, is simply that they are ‘ceremonial practices’ that will in nowise affect your day-to-day spiritual life here on this earth and certainly never have any influence on your eternal future. On this basis, let us get some understanding on these issues.
The Baptism of John
Over the ages the process of baptism was conducted by the Israelite’s and was an expression of repentance, or the turning away from an ungodly life. Jesus himself allowed John the Baptist to baptize him as a mark of respect to the tradition. Up to the point of where Jesus was crucified, died and rose again, there was no other significance for this tradition other than an outward sign of repentance from ungodly living.
The Baptism of Jesus
Once Jesus ascended into the eternal realm, his disciples preached that people needed to repent from their ways, be baptized and follow the lifestyle of Jesus.
The significance of the Jesus baptism is that as a person wants to have their lives changed, they declare that they want to shift away from their ungodly living; that they accept to die to their present lifestyle; have their old ungodly natures buried and rise up in the newness of a Godly life. This process was no more than an outward expression of what Jesus had done for humankind on the cross. He died, was buried and then rose again in the newness of His eternal form.
In the previous chapters I gave you detailed explanation of the need for and the accomplishment by Jesus, of what God required of His creation.
Should I be baptized?
If you have a desire to demonstrate publically that you have decided to give up on your ungodly living and shift to a new life following God, then this is a good ceremony. But you must always know, that it is not a requirement for the health, wealth, peace and power that you need in this life here on earth and most certainly not a ‘qualification’ for life onwards.
So why is it that people get baptized? For two reasons really:
- To outwardly demonstrate their commitment to God and changing their lifestyles.
- To signify their commitment to joining a religious organization.
- In the case of child baptism, practiced by several orthodox religions – for a Godparent acting as proxy on behalf of the infant, to becoming a member of a religious organization
I shall not take this subject further than the above teaching as this should be the subject of another discussion.
This ceremony, however formal or informal is often referred to “Holy Communion” ,”The Lord’s Supper” or “The Breaking of Bread”.
Amongst more orthodox Christian religions the reference of “Holy Communion” is most common.
These religions view the Holy Communion in the form of a process called, “Transubstantiation”. In more simple terms the followers believe that the wafer (usually in the form of a coin shaped thin bread) during of the course of the ceremony conducted by the officiating priest is transmuted into a physical piece of the body of Christ. Equally the wine, at the same ceremony is changed into the physical blood of Jesus.
Amongst the more informal Pentecostal or Charismatic religions the ceremony of “The Lord’s Supper” or “The Breaking of Bread” it is believed that any elements of bread or grape juice/wine remain just as that, no change in structure and is simply conducted in ‘memory’ of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus on the cross.
Jesus said, “Do this; break some Passover bread and drink some wine (probably equivalent to our grape juice today) to celebrate what I will accomplish for you and all of humankind for evermore, on the cross and as often as you do this, you will do it in honor and memory of me”. (My translation).
Later, in this series, I will go into a more in depth discussion on the two topics.
In chapter eleven we will discuss in more depth, what helps us to take hold of health, wealth, peace in our lifetime upon earth.
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