Title: The Mystery of Baptism and Chrismation
Subject: The sacraments of baptism and chrismation
Age Group: 10+ years
Liturgical Time: Epiphany, or any
Direct Aim: This session aims to convey to the youth that through baptism, we enter into the Body of Christ and become members of Him and one another.
Materials for the Lesson:
- Icon of Epiphany (optional)
- A copy of the Creed for each student (optional)
Begin the session by reading Matthew 28:16-20.
"Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen."
Proceed by asking the following questions. If it seems that the youth have difficulty recalling the answer, read the passage again. Provide the answers as needed.
- Who went to Galilee? (The disciples)
- What did Christ command the disciples to do? (make disciples of all the nations)
- How were they to do this? (by baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe all that Christ had commanded them)
- Where did Christ say that He would dwell? (with the disciples forever)
- Who were the disciples? (The disciples were the friends and family of Christ. He called them to follow Him to be His brothers and sisters).
Continue with, "Because Christ is the Son of God, He gave the disciples the gift of being united to Him in such an personal way. What do the disciples become through Christ and His gift and grace?" Allow a moment for response, and then continue with, "The disciples become children of God through His grace. We receive this grace, this gift, at our baptism. We preserve this grace by following the commandments."
Ask the youth, "Do you know what event followed these words of Christ?" The answer is the Ascension. It is when Christ returned to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. Christ promised the disciples that He would be with us to the end of the age. The great feast that follows the Ascension explains this promise, and that is the Feast of Pentecost.
Invite the students to try to speak while holding their breath, neither inhaling nor exhaling. Tell them that it is impossible to utter a single word without breath. The Holy Spirit, the Breath of God, makes Jesus, the Word of God, present to us. Our words reveal our innermost self, and Jesus, the Word of God, reveals the Father. We experience this Pentecost through Chrismation. By being anointed, we are united to Christ, the Anointed One.
We see throughout the Holy scripture the reality of the Father sending the Holy Spirit to reveal His Son, and that through the Son, the Father is known. Show the Icon of the Epiphany to the class and explain to them how the Father spoke and sent the Holy Spirit to descend upon Christ, thus revealing Him as the Son of God.
Invite the class to share what we declare in the Creed about Christ during every Divine Liturgy. Who is He in relation to the Father, and how was He incarnate? Think about what the priest says as he offers the bread and wine. The gift that we receive from God at baptism is God Himself, the Holy Spirit.
Our lives as Christians consist of becoming temples of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes Christ present to us. Through seeing Christ and calling upon Him, we experience God. Christianity is the worship of God, "in Spirit and in Truth". This life is a journey, and it begins with our Baptism and Chrismation. It continues through the other Mysteries of the Church in which we are united in love to Christ and to one another.
Prepared by Micah Hirshy