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Minister Singing at a BaptismIn the Christian faith, baptism is usually a type of water ritual based on the idea of purification, renewal, or initiation. Traditionally, this is performed in one of two ways. First, an infant or a young child gets sprinkled with water, often as part of a christening or baby dedication ceremony. The other way involves a person being fully immersed in a pool or body of water, usually with the aid of a minister or others. The term “baptism” is also used in other faiths and secular contexts, such as a naming ceremony.

While water baptism takes place at a house of worship, where musicians may offer sacred music, sometimes these ceremonies are held at private residences or other venues. Have you thought about music for a ceremony at your home? Baptism is often heralded as a cause for celebration, and what’s a celebration without the right music? Consider these songs for your water immersion, christening, or naming ceremony.

“I Can See Clearly Now (the Rain Is Gone)”

When it comes to optimism and focusing on the new life ahead, this classic song from American singer-songwriter Johnny Nash would be at home on your baptism playlist. Released as a single from his 1972 album of the same name, this song has an upbeat, reggae-influenced feel. Even its lyrics make a casual reference to faith in the line “Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for.” If Nash’s original version isn’t your cup of tea, you may prefer Jimmy Cliff’s 1993 more danceable cover version.

“The River of Dreams”

Written and performed by Billy Joel, “The River of Dreams” is a song with lyrics and background that make it a great addition to any baptism playlist. Joel, a professed atheist, was hesitant about writing and releasing the song because of the religious associations he believed listeners would make. The lyrics are from the point of view of a man who walks in his sleep but finds himself in search of answers. His journey leads him to the aforementioned river that he must cross to find these answers. This “river of dreams” is both an obstacle and a cleansing agent. Joel even shared that he fully realized the melody for his 90s hit while in the shower. 

“Something in the Water”

Singer-songwriter Carrie Underwood released this song as a single from her greatest hits compilation album in 2014. This Grammy Award-winning song was about a person whose life is changed after being baptized “in the water.” Co-writer Brett James had the track ready for a songwriting session, and Underwood suggested the title. Along with Chris DeStefano, they came up with the lyrics. Fueled by Underwood’s powerful vocals, the song was hailed as uplifting and inspirational, reaching #1 on the Billboard charts for Country and Christian music. 

“Cool, Clear Water”

In 1994, American blues artist and guitarist Bonnie Raitt released her 12th album, “Longing in Their Hearts,” which included the album track “Cool, Clear Water.” Penned by Raitt alone, the song compares a newfound love to the flow of water that is cool and clear. In the first verse, she expresses a desire to feel the earth turn over, freeing her from her confines. In the second verse, she sings about wanting to be pulled under in the deepest part of the river. This bluesy song talks of water as a means of purification and an emotional reset, making it especially appropriate for your baptism collection.

Music is a great way to honor any special occasion, including the rite of baptism. These songs are just a few examples of the many works that convey the sense of renewal and fresh outlook associated with water immersion, christenings, or naming ceremonies. Whether you’re the DJ, an event planner, or someone who likes to make mixtapes or playlists, consider these song selections.

Category: Universal Life Church Baptism

Baptism religious ceremony

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