River of Life, Feast of Grace

Baptism, Communion, and Discipleship

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“Come to the waters,” the prophet Isaiah cries out, “Delight yourselves in rich food!” These images from the Hebrew prophet reveal for us the prodigal character of God who similarly invites us into rich participation in the ordinances of baptism and communion. Far from being two entirely separate things, baptism and communion are profoundly interconnected. Baptism is the unique launching point into a life of discipleship, drenched in grace. Communion is the repeated experience of God’s invitation into life-sustaining relationship, overflowing with love.

This book is for students, pastors, and congregations who want to deepen their understanding of the biblical and theological meanings of baptism and communion in Baptist worship. Those practices, even when infrequent, are highly crystalized moments of intentional encounter with God. Theology happens in those moments. Theology is embodied, articulated, and shaped through what a congregation does in worship, how they do it, and why.

Bringing to bear over ten years’ experience teaching worship and theology in a highly diverse seminary, Dr. Jennifer W. Davidson identifies some of the common struggles and questions that come along with how congregations perform baptism and communion, and provides examples of multicultural liturgies that intentionally engage and embody biblically rooted theological themes in soul-sustaining ways.

Affirming that there is no single right way to perform baptisms and celebrate communion, this book will provide readers with the analytical skills needed to create robust services of their own. Its aim is to positively shape a congregation’s understanding of who God is, how God cares about the world, and how Christ-followers can come to perceive God’s invitation to a life of grace through their participation in meaningful services of baptism and communion.