It was an unseasonably warm late-September day when we gathered around the small lake at Dayspring Farm in nearby Maryland to celebrate Janet Brown's baptism and welcome her into our family of faith. The sun shone brightly, highlighting patches of orange in the pumpkin field that spread out from the lake's far edge. A small flock of Canadian geese, which had stopped by on its journey south, glided over the smooth water.
We began with singing and prayer and a reading of the 23rd Psalm. Then, as Janet made her baptismal vows, we each reaffirmed our commitment to Jesus Christ and pledged ourselves to support and nurture Janet in her faith.
We gathered in close and surrounded Janet as we offered our intercessions for her. Her grandmother, who had anxiously waited for this day, lifted up an emotional prayer of thanksgiving. Then the thanksgiving over the water was offered:
Precious God, our creator, we thank you for this gift of water. You formed us and this world out of the dark waters of chaos. And time after time you have protected us as we have passed through the dark waters and have brought us into the light.
We remember the flood and your gracious promise sealed in the rainbow. We remember the flight of your people from Egypt and how you led them to freedom through the sea.
We remember Jesus and the way he was protected by the water of Mary's womb. We remember Jesus, baptized for us in the river Jordan at the beginning of his ministry that brought good news to the poor. We remember the disciples and the way in which they shared in the baptism of Jesus' death and resurrection and went on to make disciples throughout the world.