Well, I have to say we had a wonderful day yesterday when our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, visited us for his once-every-three year visitation.
We had a full church, the confirmation of three fine young people, and a splendid sermon by our bishop. Bishop Greg brought his large and expansive personality coupled with a warm and humorous presence. After he confirmed our young people, he encouraged them to sprinkle the congregation with a fir branch, using the holy water from the font. They were a little hesitant at first, but they got into it after a bit. “Remember your baptism!” they said as they doused us with water. It was a lighthearted moment, a good way to act our the bishop’s message of the importance of our baptism.
After the service, the bishop mingled with folks during coffee hour, then we took him and our other guests from the diocese to the new building where we gave them a tour and sat for a meeting with the Bishop’s Committee. It was a fine and satisfying day.
In his sermon on baptism, Bishop Greg told this story:
A baptist preacher and an Episcopal priest were having an argument about baptism. The Baptist preacher insisted that baptism was only valid if the person was entirely immersed in water, while the Episcopal priest said that sprinkling water on the top of the head would be sufficient.
The Episcopal priest asked the preacher, “What about if a person was immersed to their knees. Would that be enough?”
The preacher said, “No, that’s not enough.”
So the priest said, “How about if the person was submerged to their waist?” “Not enough,” said the preacher. “Their neck?” asked the priest. “No, that’s not enough,” said the preacher.
“What if the person was submerged all the way except the top of their head?” he asked. “Nope, not enough,” said the preacher.
“See?” said the priest. “It’s only the water on top that really counts.”