Yesterday I had my first baptisms ever. It was quite an experience, trying to preach, sing, and lead prayer over the cacophonous din of babies and children, and to maintain some sense of ritual with little people running around all over the place. At one point I turned around from the font and saw some little kid sitting on St. Francis's altar!
I wasn't mad though; in fact it made me think about the unstoppable energy of life and love that God overflows over our world, despite all our efforts to make life gloomy, bitter, and sad.
I really appreciated the four movements of the ritual. We start in the back of the church because the children are beginning their Christian life. Then, as always, we pause to listen to the Word. Having heard the Word, we move to the font for the anointings and baptism. Finally, we arrive at the altar. The altar is the tomb of Christ, in which the newly baptized are now buried. It is also the cross of Christ, on which water and blood flowed from Jesus' side for them who are now washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Right after my own baptism I remember hearing the deacon whisper to himself, "beautiful." Now I know how he felt.