We (and by “we” I really mean “I”) have started a new-to-Laurel tradition. Each Sunday morning as we gather for worship, water is poured into the baptismal font, now centrally located at the foot of the steps leading to the communion table. Why do we pour water into the font before the service?
To remember our baptisms. Baptism is an ancient rite of the Christian church, and in most denominations it is considered a sacrament – a mysterious means of grace from God. What happens on the outside during baptism is pretty straightforward: a person either has water poured over them or is “dunked” into a pool or stream and while this is happening the pastor, priest, or other person-in-charge declares they are baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. That’s basically it.
But it is what happens spiritually and internally during the sacrament of baptism that is mysterious and full of meaning. There are a variety of metaphors used to describe the what happens in baptism. Baptism takes us from death to life, so we die to ourselves to that we might live in Jesus. Baptism also signifies our adoption into the family of God and is a sign that we are in covenant relationship with all those who are baptised into God’s family. Baptism further is described as cleansing us inwardly as well as outwardly, that we are cleansed from sin and made new and whole. All of these things happen during the act of baptism, and we live into these things each day when we remember that we are baptised into the Christian faith.
So each Sunday we remember our baptisms by pouring water into the font. We are reminded that we die and rise with Christ, are adopted into the family of God, are cleansed from sin and made whole. Then we go commissioned to share the good news that in Jesus there is something different and mysterious and wonderful in the kingdom of God.