I’m excited that I’ll be a first-time Godmother this Sunday when a good friend’s infant son will be baptized. Churches who baptize infants believe that baptism is not what we do for God (which would require a mature personal decision), but instead, baptism is what God, through His family (our church communities) do for us. It is a rite of “adoption” in which we are “reborn” as part of God’s family here on Earth, and is the outward, visible sign of the spiritual reality of being joined with the Church. Easter celebrations are the best time for baptisms when the largest church membership is in attendance at worship, so that each person present can renew their baptismal vows and then commit to help raise up the child in the Christian community.
Although my godson’s baptism will be in the United States, the Scottish Book of Common Prayer has a wonderful baptismal prayer that is recited as water is poured into the baptismal font:
Holy God, well-spring of life,
in your love and justice,
you use the gift of water to declare your saving power.
In the beginning your Spirit moved over the face of the waters.
By the gentle dew, the steady rain,
you nourish and give increase to all that grows;
you make the desert a watered garden.
You command the wildness of the waves;
when the storm rages you calm our fear;
in the stillness you lead us to a deeper faith.
In the life-giving rivers and the rainbow
Israel discerned your mercy.
You divided the Red Sea to let them pass from slavery in Egypt
to freedom in the Promised Land.
In the waters of Jordan penitents found forgiveness in the baptism of John.
There, Jesus your beloved child was anointed with the Holy Spirit,
that he might bring us to the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Send upon this water and upon your people your holy, life-giving Spirit.
Bring those who are baptised in this water with Christ through the waters of death,
to be one with him in his resurrection.
Sustain your people by your Spirit to be hope and strength to the world.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
be honour and glory, now and for ever.
On this Easter Sunday 2014, will you renew your baptismal vows and again be washed by Christ’s living water?
It is a message that I never get tired of hearing.
Blessings for you this Holy Week,
(click below for MP3 file)