Whenever the Community Gathers...

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The new Book of Common Worship of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is full of good things. We have already featured its “Immigrant’s Creed” (in the ALL-Archive). Here is another fine extract, from its opening pages on “Common Words and Gestures”—the simple and excellent suggestion that the font of baptism should be open and filled with water whenever the community gathers, and the waters of baptism recalled each time.

Its Service of the Lord’s Day (Sunday service) has the presider pour water in the font to introduce confession of sin, and lift water out of the font to declare God’s forgiveness. Services of daily prayer begins each day with a thanksgiving for baptism, at the baptismal font (presumably for those praying in the church building) or a bowl of water (those at home). The daily prayers are different each day, and here is Thursday’s:

Eternal God, we give you thanks
that through the gift of our baptism
you call us to a new way of life
in the realm of your grace and peace.
By the power of your Holy Spirit,
let your will be done in our lives
and in this world that you love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(p. 887)

The Book of Common Worship (2018).

Below: the font of baptism, Pilgrim Theological College. (Photos: Stephen Burns.)

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