A baptism shawl as a symbol

Anne Le Bas

The Baptism service has provision for the “clothing” of the newly baptised person. I wrap a child in a white shawl at this point, either one which is special to the family, or they may borrow one of our own which we have made ourselves and embroidered with symbols of baptism . I explain that it is a symbol of the child being wrapped in the love of God. After the words set in the CW liturgy (You have been clothed with Christ) I add:  As many as are baptized into Christ have put on Christ, (Galatians 3.27).

I also add some words from Julian of Norwich, “As the body is clad in the cloth, and the flesh in the skin, and the heart in the whole, so are we, soul and body, clad in the goodness of God, and enclosed.” It is always a very moving part of the service, and the parents especially seem to appreciate it. It is not just they who are protecting and caring for their child, but also God. Intriguingly it seems to be just as powerful when used with older children and adults – we all need to be wrapped up now and then!