Another connection that Baptism has is with death. Has this ever struck you in your prayer?
It should. And the Church’s liturgy tries to emphasize it: both in baptismal ceremonies and at funerals we use holy water, white cloths, and flame – and similar Bible readings – to highlight the connections between the beginnings and the endings of the human life of faith.
“Those of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus,” St. Paul wrote, “were baptized into His death” (Romans 6:3). The image of being “buried” under the surface of the waters of Baptism – and then “rising” out of them – is a wonderful one. I wish here at the Cathedral we had a baptismal font that was more like a pool in which adults as well as children could be baptized in this way; those parishes which can do this have a real advantage in getting the right message across in their worship. Baptizing a person “by immersion” in the water, and not just by pouring or sprinkling the water, is a more powerful sign of just what is happening at that special moment. I’ll tell you a little secret: I really am jealous of so many of our Protestant friends whose church customs have preserved this wonderful way of celebrating the moment of Baptism!