It is always a joy when there is a baptism in church and last Sunday was especially joyful in that we had eleven of our young people being baptised. To make it even more special we set up a baptismal pool so that those who wanted to could be baptised by full immersion.
I have always loved baptisms and its great when there is a host of people there to encourage and laugh and enjoy the service. It was also, rather appropriately, our harvest service as well. The traditional time for baptisms is at Easter when we celebrate rising into new life in Jesus but there are some important links at harvest time as well.
In the Jewish harvest Succoth there is a ceremony where in biblical times there would be a procession down to the Pool of Siloam to take some water out of the pool there and then bring it back to the Temple. It would then be poured out into a hole that led out into the Kidron valley. It was seen as both a looking back to Moses bring water out of rock and also to the vision of Elijah of a stream of water starting in Jerusalem and then pouring out of there towards the dead sea, it brings life wherever it flows.
This imagery was picked up in the New Testament by Jesus and at the end of the book of Revelation which expand on this. This water that brings life – just as in baptism we die to our old life and rise from the water into new life. The symbolism is all there.