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Why Does the Big Candle Get Dunked?

October 30, 2014

Have you ever wondered why the priest puts that really big candle into the baptismal font just before people get baptized? Here's why!

The Bible teaches that baptism washes away our sins. Now it's easy to see how water can wash away dirt, but how can water wash away sins? It can't--but Jesus can! Jesus did not get baptized to have his sins forgiven—he didn't have any! Instead, Jesus got into the water to show us that he would be the one actually forgiving our sins through the water of baptism.

The really big candle that we light each Easter and use at baptisms is a symbol of Jesus, who said that he is the light of the world. The reason the priest dunks that candle into the baptismal font just before baptisms is to remind us of Jesus' baptism, and how it is Jesus, who works through the water to wash away our sins at our own baptism.

Remember that the next time you see a really big candle getting dunked!

Stephen Gauthier
Canon Theologian
stephenjgauthier@gmail.com