together at home
a weekly practice of scripture, reflection, questions and prayer
Gather the cup, the plate and the bowl that were set aside last week
and set them before you as you consider the following:
I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
- Genesis 17:7
But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
Jesus got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” - John 13:4-9
Washing in the waters of baptism is a sign of God claiming us as God’s people. It marks us as members of the covenant community, the Church. Baptism continually points us to
God’s love and grace through the simple, everyday element of water.
Washing, and particularly washing our hands, has perhaps become a reminder of the current social distancing protocols. There are advertisements everywhere encouraging us to wash our hands, from commercials to billboards to songs on Sesame Street, and in so doing, reminding us of the distance that separates us. All for our own health and the common good.
The washing of baptism has a different approach: we are taken in as children of God, and united with Christ and with others through the waters of baptism. By washing in the baptismal waters, we- with our brothers and sisters in Christ- are claimed as offspring in God’s covenant with Abraham; we are given power to become children of God; and together we share in the life of Jesus. Though we are currently scattered and separated from one another physically, we are gathered together as family in Christ, and claimed together with an inseparable bond by the Spirit, all through the waters of baptism.
Instructions & Questions
Fill the bowl with water. Dip your hands in the water, and let it run through your fingers.
1. Do you remember your own baptism or have you witnessed another’s? What do you remember about it?
2. What does it mean to you to be “a child of God” and to be connected, through baptism, to brothers and sisters in Christ, the other “children of God”?
God, we give you thanks for the gift of water that washes and cleanses us. We give you thanks for the gift of baptism that washes and gathers us closer to You and to our siblings in Christ. Amen.
Featured Artwork: Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet by the Mafa Christian Communities in Cameroon in the 1970s