Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Baptism

"If you mold her (your child) completely in ths way, you will save not only her, but also the husband who will marry her, not only the husband but the children, not only the children but also the grandchildren. For when the root becomes good, the shoots are outstretched toward what is better, and for all these you will receive the reward. Therefore, let us do all things so as to help not one soul alone, but many through the one."

St. John Chrysostom

I don't think we could have been more excited if we were going to Disney World today. Oh, the devil didn't like it. We had trouble with the brakes on the car, and a few of us seemed cranky and argumentive, but I kept trusting God, saying, let's just stay positive and enjoy the blessings of this day. We made it to Detroit in one piece, and everyone was surprised that we'd gotten there so early.

First, a meeting with Father Leo, and then to the bathroom to put the children's white Robes of Gladness and Righteousness on--bathing suits underneath. You should have seen them with their little white robes, especially Clare Bella. They looked like they'd just stepped out of heaven. Little monks! With white cords tied at their waists. So, cute. I just wanted to kiss them! But we had work to do.

They stood at the door of the church, just as I did when I was Chrismated. It's symbolic for being outside of the church, and then, after they had rejected Satan, spit on him, yes, they had to spit! I love that, spitting on that worm, and joined themselves to Christ, declared him King and God, and worshipped the Trinity, One in essence and undivided, they came inside.

This was unlike any baptism I've ever seen. It was so beautiful. Many prayers were said over them, as we who witness did the work of Liturgy. We sang, we prayed, we worshiped. They were censed with incense, they were marched around the baptismal pool. And then, in the name of the Father, Pachuump, and in the name of the Son, Pachuump, and in the name of the Holy Spirit, Pachuump, they died with Christ, and were raised with him as in the resurrection.

More prayers, lovely prayers, and worship, and then my babies received the greatest of mysteries, the blood and the body of Christ.

Such grace in the room, such a sweet presence of God. After that, more prayers, and then Father Leo tenderly took them, one by one, by the hand, and showed them the icons of Jesus, and John the Baptist (I LOVE him) and The Mother of God with baby Jesus, and St. Raphael, the patron saint of the church.

I am crying as I write this, remembering. This was by far, next to my wedding, and being received into the church myself, the best thing I've ever experienced. I don't even have the words to describe the rich beauty of this rite. You had to be there. Like Jesus, it was altogether lovely.

After that they were presented as the newest members of our church. Ken and I were so proud. And Father Leo thought they did a great job. Their Godparents, subdeacon Robert, and Patricia, our dear deacon's wife gave them all crosses. Dr. Jane gave them gorgeous icons of the Theotokos, and they also got their own little prayer books. Pat gave me a copy of a book by one of my favorite Orthodox writers, Anthony Coniaris--this was a book I've been wanting for weeks. In my prayer book, was a little icon card of St. Sophia and her three daughters Faith, Hope and Love. Because three of my daughters were baptized, this was especially meaningful. I was so moved by this icon, that had I gotten it earlier, their Christian names would have been Faith, Hope, and Love. I kid you not! Already Nia Grace has Faith as one of her middle names.

We had vegetarian chili, humus and taboule and a cake with all their Christian names on it. We broke bread together, and celebrated. I'm so happy. Not even the car breaking down as soon as we got home could shake my joy.

Thank you Lori R., Gina, Allison and Maggie, Alton and Dr. Jane for coming to share the day with us. Thank you Evette, Lori P. and Marilynn, Heather and Bonnie for your prayers and comments. And thank all of you lurkers for listening to my ramblings here. God bless you all.

Much love,


Heather Diane Tipton said...

awwww I'm so happy that it went so well!

Anonymous said...

It was an amazing celebration and I was so very happy to be able to be there. I agree-the spitting on satan had to be one of the coolest parts!-(along with the many times that the 4 kids all said their vows over and over.)
I am praying and will contine to pray for each of them-that God will continue to work in their hearts in mighty ways. They are each given such great personalities by God himself!
love you all,