Baptism & the Lord’s Supper
Denominations often differ over what they recognize as sacraments. Some recognize as many as seven; others have no sacraments in the life of the church. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has two sacraments—baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
We believe baptism and the Lord’s Supper to be sacraments, instituted by God and commanded by Christ. Sacraments are signs of the real presence and power of Christ in the Church, symbols of God’s action. Through the sacraments, God seals believers in redemption, renews their identity as the people of God, and marks them for service.
The early Church, following Jesus, took three primary material elements of life—water, bread, and wine—to become basic symbols of offering life to God, as Jesus had offered His life. Being washed with the water of baptism, Christians received new life in Christ and presented their bodies to be living sacrifices to God. Eating bread and drinking wine, they received the sustaining presence of Christ, remembered God’s covenant promise, and pledged their obedience anew.
First Presbyterian recognizes all baptisms with water administered by other Christian churches in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is received only once; however, there are many times in worship when believers acknowledge the grace of God continually at work. As they participate in the celebration of another’s baptism, as they experience the sustaining nurture of the Lord’s Supper, and as they reaffirm the commitments made at baptism, they confess their ongoing need of God’s grace and pledge anew their obedience to God’s covenant in Christ.
Individuals may request that a particular pastor officiate at a baptism. We require that there be instruction received before a baptism takes place.
To schedule a baptism and arrange to attend a baptism seminar, contact Lindsay Blackmon (firstname.lastname@example.org; 210-271-2758). The seminar includes a light lunch and childcare is provided.
The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is the sign and seal of eating and drinking in communion with the crucified and risen Lord. During his earthly ministry, Jesus shared meals with his followers as a sign of community and acceptance and as an occasion for his own ministry. Around the Table of the Lord, God’s people are in communion with Christ and with all who belong to Christ.
The invitation to the Lord’s Supper is extended to those who trust in Jesus Christ and seek to live as his followers. Access to the table is not a right conferred upon the worthy, but a privilege given to the undeserving who come in faith, repentance and love. In preparing to receive Christ in this Sacrament, the believer is to confess sin and brokenness, to seek reconciliation with God and neighbor, and to trust in Jesus Christ for cleansing and renewal. Even one who doubts or whose trust is wavering may come to the Table in order to be assured of God’s love and grace in Christ Jesus.
When the Lord’s Supper is Celebrated at First Presbyterian
The Lord’s Supper is celebrated at all worship services the first Sunday of each month, as well as special services on Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday Typically, First Pres offers a communion worship service on Christmas Eve as well.
World Communion Sunday is the first Sunday of October each year. The Lord’s Supper is celebrated in all worship services at First Presbyterian Church San Antonio and around the world.