Living Water: A Season of Baptism

Years ago (long before Covid made this seem like a terrible idea), I invited the children to the baptismal font and gave them all straws. We talked about how even though the water in the baptismal font is still, it reminds us of living waters, waters that bubble from deep in the earth, tumble through hills and valleys, wash onto the beach and fall from the sky.

We talked about how the waters of baptism remind us of the waters of creation, the water that flooded the earth in Noah’s time, the waters that parted to let the people of God pass safely, the living water that Jesus offered the woman at the well. We talked about how the waters of baptism “connect us with God’s creative purpose, cleansing power, and redemptive promise from generation to generation.”[1] We talked about how baptism is a sign of God’s Covenant with the church and how it “represents God’s call to justice and righteousness, rolling down like a mighty stream, and the river of the water of life that flows from God’s throne.”[2] The water of baptism holds memory of the past and hope for the future. Then the children put their straws in the font and blew bubbles until water overflowed the sides of the bowl and squeals of joy and delight rose from the chancel…even as some in the pews held their breath, praying that the font itself didn’t tip over!

West Raleigh, we are entering a season full to the brim with baptisms! Between this Sunday and the end of October we will have 5, maybe six baptisms. What gift and joy! What confirmation and challenge! It starts this Sunday with the baptism of Graham Viva, the infant son of Emily (Lamb) and Matt Viva. Graham is the third generation in his family to be baptized at West Raleigh. Then, on October 9th eight young people will confirm their faith and two of them, Penelope and Elliott Baucom will also be baptized! On October 23th, Eva and Austin Jones will present their daughter, Mabel, for baptism, and on October 30th Helon and Jordan Davis will bring their infant daughter, Olivia to be baptized in the same font as both of her parents! During this season the waters of baptism will shape and inspire our worship. We will sing of the waters of baptism and listen for what the Spirit has to say to the church through water stories in the Bible. We will celebrate gathering as the more-whole people of God as parents bring children back to church and young people stand in the center of the community, confessing their faith. We will immerse ourselves in God’s love as we (generously) sprinkle all those precious heads with living water. Church, get your straws ready for as the hymn says, “There is water in the river, bringing life to tree and plant. Let creation praise its giver: there is water in the font.”[3] May it bubble and overflow…

See you in church,


[1] Book of Common Worship. Westminster John Knox Press, 2018, Louisville, Kentucky, p. 404.

[2] Book of Common Worship. Westminster John Knox Press, 2018, Louisville, Kentucky, p. 404.

[3] Kaan, Fred. “Out of Deep, Unordered Water.” Glory to God The Presbyterian Hymnal, 2013, Hymn 484.

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