Thanksgivings for Baptism

Thanksgivings for Baptism
A painting in my office. Artist unknown.

Working through this week's Living School material, I was moved to make a small change to worship plans for Easter Sunday and Easter season. Originally, I planned a rite of Thanksgiving for Baptism from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship book. But after reading from Richard Rohr's book, Dancing Standing Still, I wrote a new Thanksgiving for Baptism.

Both are below. The regular print is to be read by the leader; the bold, by the congregation. The starred (*) quotes in the second one are from Dancing Standing Still.

Thanksgiving for Baptism from Evangelical Lutheran Worship

Joined to Christ in the waters of baptism, we are clothed with God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Let’s give thanks for the gift of baptism.

We give you thanks, O God,
for in the beginning your Spirit moved over the waters
and by your Word you created the world,
calling forth life in which you took delight.

Through the waters of the flood you delivered Noah and his family.
Through the sea you led your people Israel from slavery into freedom.
At the river your Son was baptized by John and anointed with the Holy Spirit.
By water and your Word you claim us as daughters and sons,
making us heirs of your promise and servants of all.

We praise you for the gift of water that sustains life,
and above all we praise you for the gift of new life in Jesus Christ.
Shower us with your Spirit,
and renew our lives with your forgiveness, grace, and love. 

To you be given honor and praise
through Jesus Christ our Lordty
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Kids gathered around font, giving thanks for baptism.

Thanksgiving for Baptism inspired by Living School

What treasure do we have in these waters?
What difference does it make to be baptized into Christ?

Jesus is like water: always seeking the lowest point.

To be baptized is to be changed–once for all and again every new day–into people who go down to the bottom instead of trying to climb to the top.

This is the path of healing and transformation.We know it when rock bottom becomes our new foundation. 

As Richard Rohr says, “the view from the top of anything is distorted by misperception, illusions, fear of falling, and a radical disconnection from the heart.”*

From below, I see clearly–reality, resilience, healing, who I really am, who God really is. 

Jesus calls us to be where he is–near the poor, the sinner, the suffering, and the enemy. That’s not just to help them, but to "let them help us in ways we never knew we needed."*

Baptism is this call in our lives. 

Baptism gives us this Spirit to go into the depths and not to stay just on the surface of things. Down into grief. Down into love. Baptism shows us who we’ve always been and who we will always be–a beloved child of an endlessly strong and wise Mother, an endlessly gentle and loving Father.

Baptism brings us back home.

When we are at home in God, we don’t even need to be afraid of what we have done or what others have done to us. Need, desire, doubt, resistance, rebellion are no threat. We can include them. We can include everyone and every thing and exclude nothing and no one.

Because God wastes nothing, not even sin. Because in Christ, all things hold together.

This is the treasure in these waters. This and every other promise of goodness, mercy, and life. You are baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We are baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and with Christ and all creation, we will forever fall into love and rise to new life. Amen.