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The Waters of Baptism (Baptism of Jesus 3)

July 6, 2010

This lesson on the baptism of Jesus will, I think, be the second of three on the story but it may turn out to be the first.  Or the third.  We’ll see.  (It turned out to be third.)

The Waters of Baptism

Materials

  • a pitcher of water
  • a large bowl
  • one glass/person
  • a small ball

Open with prayer (see tip sheet)

Introduce the Story

(If this is your first lesson in Epiphany, you may want to read the introduction to How Did the River Feel.

Have you ever been really thirsty?  What did it feel like?  How did it feel once you had a drink?

Have you ever been really dirty?  What did that feel like?  How did you get clean?  How did it feel to be clean?

Today’s story, about Jesus’ baptism, takes place in a river – clean, flowing water that the people who lived there could use to drink, water their plants, and clean their bodies and their things.  Let’s listen to the story.

Read the Story

John the Baptizer (or Baptist) was a prophet who lived at the same time as Jesus. He travelled around, telling people that they needed to change their lives – to stop sinning and to start living the way God wanted them to. He also told people that God’s chosen one was coming soon – the one who would change the world and bring all the people who follow God’s ways into the perfect world of God

One of the things John did was baptize people in a river called the Jordan River. Being baptized was a way of showing that you were going to change your life. The person who went under the water was not the same as the person who came out of the water – their sins were forgiven and they tried not to sin anymore.

One day, when John was busy baptizing people in the Jordan River, Jesus came to him and asked to be baptized, too. John knew that Jesus was special. He said, “I shouldn’t be the one baptizing you! I need you to baptize me”. Jesus knew it was necessary, though, and he said, “No, at this time, you must baptize me.”

John eventually agreed and he went with Jesus into the river. John put his hands on Jesus’ head and pushed him down into the cold water. When Jesus came back up, he saw the heavens open up and the Spirit of God flew down like a dove and sat on him. A Voice from heaven said “This is my beloved Son. I am very pleased with him.”

(Matthew 3:13-17)

Discussion

How was Jesus baptized?

What do we do with water, besides baptize people? (drink it, clean with it, play in it)

How does water make us feel? (clean, refreshed, energized)

Why do you think people are baptized with water?

Because water makes us think about being cleaned and refreshed – it is a symbol.  In baptism, water shows us on the outside what God is doing inside us.  This is called a sacrament – when we do something physically as a sign of what God is doing spiritually, to our hearts and minds and souls.

Hold up the pitcher of water

Water is a good sign because we can see it (if your pitcher is not clear, let the kids look into it); we can hear it (holding the pitcher up high, pour the water into the bowl); we can feel it (invite kids to touch the water); and we can taste it (pour and distribute small cups of water).  It is also a good sign because it is part of our everyday lives.  Whenever we see it or hear it or touch it or taste it we are reminded of the new life that God makes inside baptized people.

Introduce the Activity

Our game today is about all the things we can do with water.  When the ball is tossed to you, you have to act out something you do with water.  You can make sounds but only the sound of the water.  The rest of us will guess what you are doing.  When somebody guesses right, we’ll all say “Amen!” because using water can be like a prayer.  Then you toss the ball to another person and it’s their turn.

Water Charades

Arrange the group in a circle and toss the ball to someone to begin.  You may need to offer suggestions once the obvious ones are taken.

Regrouping

Retrieve the ball and congratulate everyone on their creativity.  Invite people to talk about their favourite water uses.  Were there any that surprised them?  What will they do with water when they go home today? 

Closing Prayer

Dear God, thank you for the gifts of water and baptism.  Help us remember to say “Amen” whenever we take a drink or have a bath or run through the sprinklers.  Amen.

The Waters of Baptism

Materials

· a pitcher of water

· a large bowl

· one glass/person

· a small ball

Open with prayer (see tip sheet)

Introduce the Story

(If this is your first lesson in Epiphany, you may want to read the introduction to This is my Beloved Son.)

Have you ever been really thirsty?  What did it feel like?  How did it feel once you had a drink?

Have you ever been really dirty?  What did that feel like?  How did you get clean?  How did it feel to be clean?

Today’s story, about Jesus’ baptism, takes place in a river – clean, flowing water that the people who lived there could use to drink, water their plants, and clean their bodies and their things.  Let’s listen to the story.

Read the Story

John the Baptizer (or Baptist) was a prophet who lived at the same time as Jesus. He travelled around, telling people that they needed to change their lives – to stop sinning and to start living the way God wanted them to. He also told people that God’s chosen one was coming soon – the one who would change the world and bring all the people who follow God’s ways into the perfect world of God

One of the things John did was baptize people in a river called the Jordan River. Being baptized was a way of showing that you were going to change your life. The person who went under the water was not the same as the person who came out of the water – their sins were forgiven and they tried not to sin anymore.

One day, when John was busy baptizing people in the Jordan River, Jesus came to him and asked to be baptized, too. John knew that Jesus was special. He said, “I shouldn’t be the one baptizing you! I need you to baptize me”. Jesus knew it was necessary, though, and he said, “No, at this time, you must baptize me.”

John eventually agreed and he went with Jesus into the river. John put his hands on Jesus’ head and pushed him down into the cold water. When Jesus came back up, he saw the heavens open up and the Spirit of God flew down like a dove and sat on him. A Voice from heaven said “This is my beloved Son. I am very pleased with him.”

Discussion

How was Jesus baptized?

What do we do with water, besides baptize people? (drink it, clean with it, play in it)

How does water make us feel? (clean, refreshed, energized)

Why do you think people are baptized with water?

Because water makes us think about being cleaned and refreshed – it is a symbol.  In baptism, water shows us on the outside what God is doing inside us.  This is called a sacrament – when we do something physically as a sign of what God is doing spiritually, to our hearts and minds and souls.

Hold up the pitcher of water

Water is a good sign because we can see it (if your pitcher is not clear, let the kids look into it); we can hear it (holding the pitcher up high, pour the water into the bowl); we can feel it (invite kids to touch the water); and we can taste it (pour and distribute small cups of water).  It is also a good sign because it is part of our everyday lives.  Whenever we see it or hear it or touch it or taste it we are reminded of the new life that God makes inside baptized people.

Introduce the Activity

Our game today is about all the things we can do with water.  When the ball is tossed to you, you have to act out something you do with water.  You can make sounds but only the sound of the water.  The rest of us will guess what you are doing.  When somebody guesses right, we’ll all say “Amen!” because using water can be like a prayer.  Then you toss the ball to another person and it’s their turn.

Water Charades

Arrange the group in a circle and toss the ball to someone to begin.  You may need to offer suggestions once the obvious ones are taken.

Regrouping

Retrieve the ball and congratulate everyone on their creativity.  Invite people to talk about their favourite water uses.  Were there any that surprised them?

Closing Prayer

Dear God, thank you for the gifts of water and baptism.  Help us remember to say “Amen” whenever we take a drink or have a bath or run through the sprinklers.  Amen.

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