Ellie comes to the baptismal font dressed in a white gown that has been in her family for several generations. Her relatives will continue to preserve it with care as they hand it on to future parents and children.
Steven comes to the font as well, only his garment is a funeral pall draped over his casket. Funeral palls have been many colors in the history of the church (including black!), but this one is white with a large embroidered gold cross running its length. The sign of the cross marked on Ellie, reminding her that she is a child of God, is also emblazoned on Steven's casket reminding us of the same.
Revelation bears witness that God holds all things together, no matter what happens. Baptism, in which we are cleansed through the blood of the Lamb, is God's gift that this will always be so, despite evidence to the contrary.
Shepherding Lamb, sustain us in our daily walk assured by your promised presence. Amen.
Revelation 7:9-17 (NRSV)
9 After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.
10 They cried out in a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
11 And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
12 singing, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen."
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, "Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?"
14 I said to him, "Sir, you are the one that knows." Then he said to me, "These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 "For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
16 "They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat;
17 "for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."