Baptism and Prayer: A New Year.

Prayers for the New Year:

All:         Lord, our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Pastor:        As we move forward into a new year

                   we dedicate the works of our hands,

                   the thoughts of our minds

                   and the love of our hearts to You.

All:        Lord, our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Pastor:        As we look forward into a new year,       

We ask You and we pray:

help us to have the faith to trust in You and

                   the wisdom to do what is right.

All:        Lord, our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Pastor:        As we move forward into a new year,

                   Guide us in our lives

                   May our words and actions point to You

                   May we always serve You.

All:              Whatever the year holds,

may we never lose sight of You;

   Lord, Our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!





Prayer Walk:

Please join us in a prayer walk today. On this first Sunday of the New Year: Please get up from the pews and walk to the back of church and then walk the steps of Our Lord’s prayer, as you recite the prayer step by step. You will end at the baptismal font: please dip you fingers and make the sing of the cross as you walk to your pew again. We will let the prayers, and our voices blend! It will be our mumbling praying walk into the new year with hope and faith. 


As you walked the prayer this morning, as you were reciting and praying the old prayer making your way to the baptismal font, - I do hope you felt the words and the prayers too. That you truly were walking the prayer, walking your way to the baptismal font, walking to the waters and the Jordan where Jesus was first baptized. And then walking wet as we as Christians should be walking as baptized children in the world.

Baptism and water are powerful forces in our lives and in our Christian faith and symbolism. It is powerful, because we share it as Christians. Not just us sitting here in the Danish Lutheran church today – not just all the Christians in California or US, - no all the Christians all over the world can say that they were indeed baptized in Christ.

 It goes for the Catholic in Ireland, the Pentecostal in Nigeria, the Lutheran in Denmark, we share the same baptism and the faith in the power of the waters of baptism. We all believe that God’s spirit was over the dark waters from the very beginning of time – and we all believe that God’s spirit was over the waters of Jordan, when Jesus was baptized, -  as we all believe that God’s spirit was and will be over the waters at our baptismal fonts in our churches.

So, the waters of baptism unite us as Christians all over the world.

So, through the water of baptism a beautiful creed of faith and hope emerges:

We believe in God, who speaks through the prophets and lifts our gaze up to high and beautiful paths and peaks.

We believe in Jesus Christ, who was baptized in the water of Jordan, and began his mission and vision of peace, reconciliation, and love.

We believe in the Spirit of God, who rested on Jesus like a dove and who stayed with such love as the world has never seen before or since.

And we do believe that those who are baptized in the name of Christ, shall share in his Spirit, his mission, his vision, and his love.

WE believe.  Baptism is a confession of faith. It is God’s confession of his love for us as his children – and in return we confess our faith in Him as our father, our creator, our savior, and our spirit.

And we pray. We pray the beautiful old prayer, which binds us together as Christians and unites us as Christian all over the world.

Our Father in Heaven, Fader Vor du som er i himen

Vater Unser, Pater Noster, Notre Pere,......

When you walked and prayed and made your way to the Baptismal font with a AMEN, we did pray as we have been taught through generations and centuries. It is called The Lord’s prayer as it was the prayer given by Jesus himself to his disciples to teach them how to pray. Simple and yet profound. Short and yet sufficient. Our Lord’s Prayer is Christianity’s greatest prayer and Christianity’s strangest prayer as it does not even mention Christ. It is prayed Sunday after Sunday, in many languages, in different regions and corners of the world, in churches, but the so-called Lord’s prayer does not even mention Christ, Sunday or Churches! Or baptism for that matter. And off course we could respond as we consider the context of the prayer: there is really nothing strange in the fact that it is a Jewish prayer from the Jewish Jesus, hence nothing Christian was yet introduced to the world. But even stranger might be that this prayer from a Jewish Jesus does not mention center piece of Jewish faith and practices like Temple or Torah, Covenant, or Circumcision.

So, what truly makes this prayer, our Lord’s Prayer, the greatest prayer of all time is like Dominique Crossan says in his book: It is a prayer from the heart of Judaism to the lips of Christianity for the conscience of the world. A radical manifesto and hymn of hope for all humanity.

Our Baptism is embraced by Our Lord’s Prayer, - as Jesus was embraced by the loving words and blessing from heaven as he was baptized.

Baptism is a blessing and a beginning.

Once upon a time in another church that this, a little child was carried to the baptismal font. The pastor approached the proud father of the child and solemnly said: Baptism is a serious step. Are you prepared for it?” “I think so” the father replied” My wife has made appetizers and we have a caterer coming to provided for all of our guests!”

“I didn’t mean that,” the pastor replied, “I mean, are you prepared spiritually ???”

“Oh, sure” the father replied, “I have 2 cases of Carlsberg and 1 bottle of snaps.”

Baptism is a serious spiritual matter, but most of all a loving, blessing, prayerful, hopeful matter.

Most of us were carried on loving arms to the baptism font. Most of us were carried as small children, still dependent on our parents love and care. Most of us can’t even remember our own baptism – but we know we were baptized and we do believe, that we are loved not only by our parents and family, but by God.

The loving embrace of baptism, is a loving embrace to last a life time. An embrace to hold us warm and safe through life’s triumphs and trials. An embrace to hold us warm and safe, when everything else seems to be tumbling down. The embrace of baptism was and is and will always be our safe embrace and our blessing.

As we embark on the journey of yet another year, we need to be reminded of our baptism, our blessing, and our beginning.

Life and love are given to us.

Birth and Baptism are given to us.

I did not ask to be born. I did not have a say in my birth, it was all my parents doing and planning, it was their encounter,] and  their love, but I claimed my life along the way just the same. Just as you did.

Neither did I ask to be baptized. I did not have a say in my baptism that fine October day in 1964, when my parents carried me into Ryslinge Kirke. But still I claimed my baptism along the way just the same. Just as you did. We grow into our lives and we grow into our baptism.

Life and love, birth and baptism are gifts given to us – grace showed to us and love imprinted in us.

Our reformer Martin Luther once said” when you wash your face…. Remember your baptism.” Encouraging us all to daily remember our baptism, in the shower or at the sink. Encouraging us all to walk wet through life, remembering our baptism, living our baptism, sharing our hope and faith.

“Our father in heaven….” We pray. Let this prayer be our walking wet prayer, our baptismal embrace, and our hope for this new year and all the new days ahead. Amen.