We will regularly address the meaning and reason behind actions in United Methodist worship
- What is Advent? The season of Advent, which comes comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical — from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.]During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming. Although we are accustomed to celebrating Christmas on a single day, in both Christian tradition and on the Church calendar, the Christmas season lasts sundown on December 24 (Christmas Eve) through Epiphany of the Lord (January 6). This is sometimes popularly referred to as “the twelve days of Christmas.”
- Why do we stand for the Gospel reading from the scriptures? Because in the reading of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) we are addressed by the words of Christ and experience this as an encounter with the living Christ. As we are able, we stand out of respect for Christ who is addressing us in the readings of the Gospel.
- Children’s Sabbath For the past 27 years the United Methodist church has designated a Sunday every year to celebrated the importance of children in worship and in the life of the church. The focus for Children’s Sabbath is to look deeply at the needs of children, locally and worldwide while committing to pray for them. It is also an opportunity for children to lead in worship by participating and sharing their gifts and talents in serving Christ. It is a time to reflect on God’s gift of children and ways our congregation can renew our commitment to include, care for, protect, and advocate for all children.
- What is Baptism? Baptism is the “rite of initiation” into the Christian faith. It is the door through which we enter into the community called the Church. In the United Methodist Church we hold that baptism is a symbol for something God does – not something we do. As a “sacrament” (a means or vehicle for God’s grace in our lives) it is “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” Baptism not only signifies the entrance into the household of faith, it is also a symbol of repentance and inner cleansing from sin, a representation of the new birth in Christ Jesus and a mark of Christian discipleship. We believe children are under the atonement of Christ and as heirs of the Kingdom of God are acceptable subjects for Christian baptism. Children of believing parents through Baptism become the special responsibility of the Church. They should be nurtured and led to personal acceptance of Christ, and by profession of faith, confirm their baptism.
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