Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Alex is baptized!

Our son, Alex, had planned to be baptized within the last year, but the timing never worked out.  When he realized that Christ Church holds a baptism during the annual all-parish retreat held at Highland Lakes Camp he asked to be baptized this weekend.  

I was baptized in the Susquehanna River at Hickories Park in Owego, NY when I was 12.  I couldn't help but think of that day when we were standing as a congregation on the muddy waterside.  Of course, Owego was not in drought as is central Texas.  For an idea of how bad things are, see the treeline on the far side of the lake?  The water is supposed to be about that height.  Sad.

We found the baptism liturgy to be weighty with meaning.  So I share it here in its entirety.  We've been trying to upload the video we took so you could hear the service rather than read it, but I'm having technical difficulties.  Thank you to our new friend, Heather Hadd, for taking so many beautiful photos for us.

Presentation and Examination of the Candidates

Celebrant: The Candidates for Holy Baptism will now be presented.
Sponsors: I present Alex Murphy for the sacrament of baptism. (Brian and I were Alex' sponsors.  It was a great privilege.  Unfortunately, we didn't practice our one and only line ahead of time to decide if were presenting 'Alex' or 'Alexander' in baptism and sort of botched our one and only line!)

The Celebrant asks the following questions of the baptismal candidate.

Question: Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?
Answer:  I renounce them.

Question: Do you renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?
Answer: I renounce them.

Question: Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God?
Answer: I renounce them.

Question:  Do you turn to Jesus Chrsit and accept him as your Savior?
Answer:  I do.

Question: Do you pout your whole trust in his grace and love?
Answer: I do.

Question:  Do you promise to follow and obey him as your Lord?
Answer:  I do.
(Oh, how I wish you could hear the audio of this exchange.  Alex's replies were  profoundly heartfelt.)

After all have been presented, the Celebrant address the congregation, saying:
Celebrant:  Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support them in their lives in Christ?
All:  We will.

Celebrant:  Let us join those who are being committed to Christ and renew our own baptismal covenant.

The Baptismal Covenant (All the baptized join the candidates in the baptismal vows)
Celebrant:  Do you believe in God the Father?
People:  I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

Celebrant:  Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
People:  I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.  He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Celebrant:  Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
People:  I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

Celebrant:  Will you continue in the aposltes' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
People:  I will, with God's help.

Celebrant:  Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
People:  I will, with God's help.

Celebrant:  Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
People:  I will, with God's help.

Celebrant:  Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
People:  I will with God's help.

Prayers for the Candidates, by God's People

Celebrant:  Grant, O Lord, that all who are baptized into the death of Jesus Christ your Son may live in the power of his resurrection and look for him to come again in glory; who lives and reigns now and for ever.  Amen.

Thanksgiving Over the Water
Celebrant:  The Lord is here.
People:  And His Spirit is with us.
Celebrant:  Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People:  It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Celebrant:  We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water.  Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation. Through it you led the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt into the land of promise. In it your Son Jesus received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us, through his death and resurrection, from the bondage of sin into everlasting life.

Your most dearly loved Son, for the forgiveness of our sins, shed from his most precious side at the Cross both water and blood; and later gave commandment to his disciples, that they should go teach all nations and baptize them in the Name of the Father, and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. Hear the prayer of your people; sanctify this water, we pray you, by the power of your Holy Spirit, that those who are here cleansed may receive the fullness of your grace, and ever remain in the number of your faithful and elect children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.

The Baptism
I baptize you in the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Celebrant:  Let us welcome the newly baptized.
People:  We receive Alex into the congregation of Christ's flock, and mark him with the sign of the Cross, in token that from this time forwards he shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and courageously to fight under his banner against sin, the world and the devil; and to continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant until his life's end.  Amen.

Thanks be to God!
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