The Biggest Little Baptism in Tokyo

Baptisms are grand, festive occasions. When a person becomes a child of God and has water drenched on their head, it is like having a party during worship. Last Sunday, we had two.

Throughout Lent, two women had been learning about being disciples, preparing for baptism on Easter morning. Twice during Lent the women stood at the baptismal font while the congregation pledged continuing support for these two women on their faith journey. One time, they were marked with the cross: on their head, mouth, heart, hands … over and over. I was moved. Each and every part of these women was marked as holy (wholly!) to God. The second time, each was given their own liturgy book, and again, the congregation was there supporting and praying for these two women.

Easter morning, the women came to the font. The smallest font I have ever seen. The silver bowl seemed so tiny, but it was filled to the brim with water. And perhaps it was deeper than it looked. I can’t help but think of the miracle of Hanukkah and the oil which lasted for eight days. The water in this bowl drenched the heads of two women, three times each.

The pastor cupped both hands, plunged them into the water, and water poured over her head, the font, and the floor. “In the name of the Father …” So much water, like a child playing in the tub. “And of the Son …” Water, running down her hair, her neck. “And of the Holy Spirit …” After that she was handed a large, fluffy white bath towel. She needed it!

Then the pastor did it again! Two women, completely drenched from that tiny bowl of water. God’s miracle in baptism — enough water to take a bath in. (The Japanese word for baptism, (seirei, is a combination of the words for “wash” and “worship”). Enough water to cleanse us and make us children of God.

On this festive day, we welcome two new members into God’s family. And, dripping with water, we shout together, “Christ is Risen, indeed! Alleluia!”