Prepare: Find a few kinds of seals. They can be images, but better would be examples that the children can touch and hold like a sealed jar of jelly, a wax seal on paper, maybe your church’s seal if you have one. Also find an oil stock for baptism, or a little bowl with olive oil on a cotton ball.
Today in the Gospel we hear a story about Jesus getting baptized. Jesus is in the water, but there were no seals there. The kind of seal want to talk about isn’t an animal, and really isn’t even in the story about Jesus that we hear today!
(you could gather around your baptismal font if that is possible)
We still baptize people today, sometimes it looks a lot like what happened to Jesus, sometimes we use a bowl of water, called a font, and lots of different things in between. But there is something that we often say at baptisms that we don’t hear in the story, it is a blessing that sounds like this:
“(name), Child of God, you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the Cross of Christ forever.”
Did you hear the word “sealed” in there? Yeah, really not talking about an animal! That kind of seal keeps things fresh, or secure, or shows who something belongs to. I have a few examples here – this jar is sealed to keep this jelly fresh until we want to eat it. A wax seal on an envelope show not only who it came from but also proves that it hasn’t been opened, and a seal like this one shows that this book belongs to this church. (Modify this as needed!)
So when we hear that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit in Baptism, what do you think that means? (give a little space here)
Right! Good! And when we seal people in Baptism we often use a little bit of olive oil on their forehead.
Now you get to decide what to do. Either have the children seal each other with a tiny amount of oil, repeating the words that you say, or the time to bless them all yourself. depends on how much time you have!
Invite your whole congregation to come up and remember their baptism! You can either just let them dip their hands in the water, or you can offer them oil to seal someone that they came up with. Or! Even better – ask some of the children to stay and bless people!
One warning – mess with the amount of oil you use on the cotton BEFORE you try this. it really only takes a very little bit. You don’t want oil dripping down faces!