THE ANGEL BAPTISMAL FONT
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19
When I was a confirmation student, we were required to memorize the Explanation of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism from a simplified version of Luther’s Small Catechism. It went as follows:
The pastor would ask, “What is Baptism?” We were expected to respond: “Baptism is not simply water, but it is the water used according to God’s command and connected with God’s word.”
And then a couple of pages later came this question: “ How can water do such great things?” We were expected to respond: “ It is not the water, indeed, that does such great things, but the Word of God connected with the water, and our faith which relies on the Word of God . For without the Word of God it is simply water and no baptism.”
Our forefathers desired that the baptismal font should have a primary and prominent place in this church. And that is as it should be.
Therefore, we remember with thanks our ancestors who took such care to choose a special and beautiful baptismal font. It is a replica of the original Angel Baptismal font which is in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark made by the very talented and well known Danish Sculptor, Bertel Thorwaldsen. ( 1770-1844) In reading about him I discovered that he was a child prodigy who was accepted into the Royal Danish Academy of Art at the age of 11 and at the age of 23 won a scholarship which permitted him to study under the noted Italian sculptor, Canova.
I quote from the 2006 Ebenezer church directory :” In 1819 he ( Bertel Thorwaldsen) received a commission to decorate the Church of Our Lady . The statues of Christ and those of the Twelve Apostles that he made for the church are considered among his masterpieces. The Angel Font is also in the setting. They were completed in 1838.
The font in Ebenezer seems to have been acquired after the completion of the new church building in 1912. …
Three other replicas of the font are known to exist. They are in the West Nideros Lutheran Church, Crooks SD; St Paul’s Church, Neola ,IA; and Trinity Lutheran Church, Silverton, OR.”
Grady and Marilyn Thorsgard visited the one in Oregon, the others can be seen on the internet. Each replica is unique. Those of us who have seen these replicas agree that Ebenezer’s is special.
This font is indeed a holy place in our worship space. Thanks be to God for the visible means by which we are born anew by water and the spirit.