We are learning how to be the church while physically distanced from each other in these days of COVID-19, and I have heard so many clergy and lay people lamenting the impossibility of communion. To feed that deep sacramental hunger, I wrote this baptismal remembrance for my congregation to use this week, and I hope you will use it in your context if it feels appropriate. Please credit me as the author if you publish the words.
Remembrance of baptism
To be done remotely, with the leader reading the regular print and other worshipers joining on the bold print. The leader should have a bowl of water, preferably a font if they are in a sanctuary, and light whatever candles are normally lit at a baptism. Worshipers may also have a vessel of water and light candles in their own worship spaces. If worshipers do not have access to the printed words, the responses can be done by repeating after the leader, a few words at a time.
Joined to Christ and the members of Christ’s body in the waters of baptism, we are clothed with God’s mercy and forgiveness. Let us give thanks for the gift of baptism.
We give you thanks, O God, for in the beginning You were present by your Spirit, blowing with possibility over a void that seemed formless and frightening.
By your Word, you called out order from the chaos.
From the water and the dust, from what appeared as nothing, You created everything, enlivening your creatures with your own breath.
For the water that connects us to you and all living things, we give you thanks.
When waters overwhelmed the earth, and both your heart and creation were flooded with grief, you delivered Noah and his family in the ark and set your bow in the sky as a promise. “Never again” you said.
When your people were trapped between a threatening Egyptian army and an impassable sea, you made a way out of no way, and led Israel to safety.
Through the waters of Mary’s womb, you delivered yourself to us in flesh,a visible witness that your love knows no boundaries, physical or spiritual.
For the water that connects us to you in flesh and spirit, we give you thanks.
When your disciples were tossed about by a storm on the sea, you spoke to the waves and their hearts, saying “Peace, be still.”
When Peter walked toward you on the water, sinking in his moment of doubt, You reached out your hand to save.
In the waters of your own saliva, mixed with your creative dust, you showed your healing power to a man born blind and all who have heard his story.
For the water that connects us to healing and salvation,we give you thanks.
As we remember the stories of creation, salvation and healing that come through water, we remember also our own stories of baptism, through which you have promised new life, rescue from sin and death, and an eternal identity as beloved children.
Shower us now with your Spirit. Sustain us daily with your promise, and renew our lives with your forgiveness, grace and love.
Worshipers are invited to dip their fingers in the water and make the sign of the cross on their foreheads to remember their baptism.