There is an updated 2020 version of this post with more stuff.
Readings: Isaiah 42:1-9, Psalm 29, Acts 10:34-43, Matthew 3:13-27
About the Image:
Upper Left: A free Clip Art image from Corel
Upper Right: A free microsoft clipart image with text from the Bible.
Lower Left: A free Heartlight image - see my link column at left.
Lower Right: A free image from Imagebank - see my link column at left.
If your Baptismal font is in a prominent position or if you can put it in a prominent position, then high light it in some way - lighting, cascading blue silks, whatever. Alternatively or as well, have a portable water fountain somewhere prominent and place a microphone close by so that the water sounds are particularly audible to the congregation (on second thoughts, if you have an elderly congregation, a very young one or a particularly sleepy one; think seriously about whether this second option may be a good idea or not :).
Listening Song: Go Light Your World
By Kathy Troccoli on her albums Greatest Hits (pictured at left) and Sounds of Heaven or on WOW 1998. This song goes well with the Isaiah reading.
Listening Song: Flowing Over Me
by Derri Daugherty on Flap Your Wings, Resolve Records,2000 (pictured at right). This song goes well with the Acts reading and the gospel reading.
Film Clip: City Slickers
(pictured at left) Use the scene where they are riding along having a discussion about the meaning of life- this clip goes well with the Isaiah and/or Matthew readings.
Discussion: On City Slicker film clip
What do you think is the meaning of life?
Film Clip: Forrest Gump
(pictured at right) Start at around 18 minutes in, when Forrest gets on the bus in his braces and nobody but Jenny talks to him. This goes particularly well with the Isaiah and Acts readings.
Discussion: On Forrest Gump film clip
What did Jenny risk by sticking up for Forrest?
Why is it difficult sometimes to show kindness to people who are different?
Film Clip: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring(pictured at left) Use the scene where Galadriel, the elf queen pours water into a basin and talks to Frodo about how the water can show him the things that were, the things that are and the things that are yet to pass.
Discussion: On Lord of the Rings film clip
How does your baptism show you
a) the things that were
b) the things that are
c) the things that are yet to be
Drama: Where Have You Been?
Found in Mega Drama 1 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 0859109151v1, page 63 (pictured in an earlier blog). This has been written for the Matthew reading.
Story: The Little Girl and the Piano
In Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties, 1994, page 143 (pictured in an earlier blog). This story sits well with the Isaiah reading.
Story: The Littlest Candle
Found in Still More Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1999, ISBN 0310224640, page 43 (pictured at right). This goes very well with the Matthew reading if you connect baptism with each person's ministry.
Story: Father Daniel Berrigan
Just google his name and you will find all you need to know about this amazing Christian who brings God's light to the world. His story therefore connects with the Isaiah reading and the gospel reading.
Story: Baroness Cox
See this video about this woman who brings God's light to the most oppressed people on earth - she is a real "free the prisoner" lady. She talks here about suffering and grace and the way people bring light to each other.
Story: Hold On
Another amazing story of someone shedding light in a very dark place
Story: Norman the Barking Pig
Found at http://www.meds.com/archive/mol-cancer/1998/10/msg01802.html
This story goes well with both the gospel reading and the Acts reading.
Story: Pull Buddy
In Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks Book 4 by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 2001, ISBN 0310236193, page 23 (pictured in an earlier blog). This story goes well with the Isaiah and the gospel reading.
Poem: Christmas Poem
By Howard Thurman and found at www.workersforjesus.com/workofchristmas.htm There is another version by Jim Strathdee which is also on the net. I put images and music with this poem via powerpoint.
Find three people and tell them
a) whether you are baptised or not
b) why or why not
c) What you understand about baptism.
Have pencils, sticky tape and small paper cut outs of doves and water droplets around your baptismal font. Ask people to think about their ministry. Do they know what it is? Do they think they are doing it? Do they need to find out more? Do they need to take some action? Ask people to write the action they need to take on one of the cut out symbols (doves or water droplets) and then stick it on the font?
Ask how people think they can light up the world through their own congregation. Write each suggestion on a separate piece of large paper and then get people to go to the one which excites them the most and write on it the things they intend to do to help make it happen.
Give people a choice of the following three:
1. Make a "Beloved Child of God" card as a gift for someone.
2. Discuss the following questions together:
What are we doing to serve God?
What can we do to bring justice and compassion to people in need ?
Does God rely on us to do these things?
What blessings and challenges come with God's gift of the Spirit?
3. Sit and meditate on the following quote from Bill Loader: To hold people in high regard so that we want them to know Jesus rather than holding them in low regard until they hear about Jesus."