Gathering Prayer (5)
Gather participants into the conversation circle. Invite a few moments of stillness, and then pray this prayer:
Ever-creating Spirit, who brooded over the waters of chaos and brought forth all life from them: We thank you for the wondrous gift of water through which we die with Christ and are raised by you to the new life of grace; and we pray that we may ever be faithful stewards of this gift and make it available, clean and pure, to all living beings, that in so doing the springs of living water promised by Christ Jesus may well up in every human heart; through Jesus our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Father, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
After the prayer, the facilitator or worship leader stands up, goes to the table/altar and pours the water into the bowl. The water should be aggressively poured into the bowl; the point of this exercise is to experience the dynamism of water and hear it splash.
Orient participants to the rhythm of this session. Let them know that you will do check-in, watch the video, have a conversation, and then close with worship.
Invite participants to answer the following question:
Last week we discussed light. How did you notice the presence of light this week?
Facilitators may wish to practice mutual invitation (see Small Group Facilitator Guide, above) or they may wish to simply go around in the circle. Participants who pass should be invited to share after the other participants have shared.
Baptism is learning how to float. Baptism is a sacrament of surrender, the sacramental act of letting go of fear and control, making friends with the unknown, and beginning to trust that God will sustain you, even in the midst of chaos and death.
Surrendering to the water of baptism allows for us to be reborn by the Holy Spirit into the new life of God. How are you adrift? What keeps you afloat?
Watch Video (15)
Before you start the video, read this script:
As you watch this video, pay attention to the imagery of water, and think about how water is present in the life and liturgies of your worshiping community.
Play video to the end. Invite the group to come back together for conversation.
Small Group Conversation (40)
Open the small group conversation with the following question:
Where is water present in the life and liturgies of your own worshiping community?
After the opening question has been discussed, choose any of the following questions to discuss with your small group. The facilitator should use their best judgment to select the questions that they believe will elicit meaningful conversation for your context. The small group may spend the entire time on one question, or do several. How many questions the group moves through is less important than fruitful conversation for the group.
- When has water become a symbol in your own life? What did it mean?
- Do you remember your own baptism? If yes, what was it like? What did it mean to you then, andwhat does it mean to you now? If you don’t remember your own baptism, think about watching abaptism. What is it like?
- Br. James says, “There’s a real danger that we reduce the symbols so much that they lose life.” [9:30-10:21] Is baptism a robust symbol in your worshipping community? Why or why not?
- Br. Lucas talks about finding wellsprings during a dry season of life. [4:42] Where have you found awellspring in a dry season of your own life?
- Do you experience baptism as a once-and-done event, or as an ongoing experience of dying and risingagain?
- Br. Keith reflects on the spiritual journey: “There are moments on the journey that are profoundlybaptismal but we don’t name in that way, those moments where you come to a juncture, and you can absolutely say: “Something about me has now died. And I am now different, and from this moment I’m moving forward into a direction that is completely unknown. But at my core I am still a beloved child of God.” [12:43] Have you experienced a moment like that? What died, and how did you experience new life?When there are about five minutes left for conversation, ask the following question:What do you understand differently about water because of this conversation?
Wrap Up/Weekly Practice (5)
Remind the participants of the weekly practice. Distribute the Practicing Signs of Life handout for Water.
Reiterate the instructions from the video:This week, when you wash your hands, notice the water. Really feel the water as it moves over your hands.
This is also the time when the facilitator should remind participants of housekeeping details for the next session.
Pass out the worship handouts to each participant. The facilitator may wish to lead worship, or may invite another participant to lead worship.
After worship, the small group session has ended.