For those of us who over the years have been hanging around churches, we are aware that Baptismal Fonts can come in all shapes and sizes. The placement and size of the font expresses a theology of understanding of this sacred sacrament. Listen carefully to the words of Shaw’s poem. Ponder each and every line. I have my favorite lines but to mention them would get in the way for what might be for you a whole new insight. There will be words if not lines to treasure.
How to wash Creation clean? Once
God sucked up the great waters from
the deeps. Only the righteous floated,
arriving safely on dry ground. Their reward:
a rainbow made of water and light.
Sprinkling simulates drowning, a little death.
Remembering my own baptism in a cold
lake, my feet cringe now, feeling again
the keen pebbles as I came out pristine,
resurrected to a crowd singing hymns.
And then, today, when a tiny splash of
prayed-over water scattered from the priest’s
fingers onto a girl baby’s forehead, the drops
glistened like wet silver, hinting at
a reservoir of grace larger than any font.
Pray that this minor immersion will
make for her a virtue of cleanness-
any sips drunk or bathed in becoming
everyday reminders of the promise of the Spirit,
an inner fountain springing always fresh.
O loving God,
everyday you surprise us
with your love and grace
Might the water of your blessing
sustain us all the days of our life
because we know
that some days and seasons
of our life can be hard to live.
At times we thirst for hope and peace.
There are days and weeks when we watch
from afar the many whose
homes and hopes
are all but washed away by flood.
to all who struggle in the floods
may they find courage and might comfort
come from unexpected places.
to all who pray for rain in the midst of
heat and fire sweeping across the landscape,
give endurance and energy
in such desperate times.
Hear this our prayer. Amen.