Immersion

by Herbert Donovan

Baptism: The word literally means the action of immersion in water.  A more commonly acceptable meaning, among Episcopalians, is the action of sprinkling with water. Many Christians hold to immersion, as in Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptism, as the most effective way to symbolize our being made clean by God, and clothed in God’s Spirit, for this life and the life to come.  While most of our Prayer Book service assumes the sprinkling or pouring of water, it is interesting to note the rubric, i.e. “direction”, on page 307, where we read that the officiating clergy “immerses, or pours water upon, the candidate”.

A priest tells the story of how he was in the action of sprinkling a baby at Baptism, when an old man in the congregation, on observing his action, spoke out in a loud voice, “”More water!”

God grant that our intentions and actions in services of Holy Baptism, whether as officiants, candidates, Godparents, family or friends, may be to immerse ourselves in God’s healing and strengthening action, that we may live more perfectly as His children, now and forever.

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