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Friday 5: Baptism edition February 18, 2008

Posted by introspectreangel in Friday Fives, theology.
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This is so very, very late, and I haven’t played Friday 5 in so very, very long… but this is a topic I just couldn’t pass up!

From the RevGals:

In this Sunday’s gospel Nicodemus asks Jesus, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Poor old Nicodemus! He was so confused about the whole “water and Spirit” business of baptism. For today’s five, tell us about your baptismal experiences.

When and where were you baptized? Do you remember it? Know any interesting tidbits?
I was baptized at the tender age of 15 days old at the Benjamin Franklin Village Chapel in Mannheim, Germany. Benjamin Franklin Village is a U.S. Army installation made up of several smaller military posts. Anyway, no, I don’t remember it, but my mom has my Baptism candle, which is all messed up because as a kid, I loved the way wax felt under my fingernails when I scratched candles, so the decorative Chi Ro symbol on the candle is all scratched off. Whoops! Interesting tidbits, huh? Let’s see… well, my dad began studying the Roman Catholic faith when he joined the Army. Then he met my Roman Catholic mom, and they had a whirlwind courtship and quickie civil wedding in front of a JP. They decided to make everything sacramentally legit after I came along, but my dad’s childhood Southern Baptist church would not cough up the proof of his baptism when a Catholic church requested it. So on August 10, 1975, the day that I received my first sacrament, Baptism, my dad received FIVE: Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation, and Matrimony.

What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve ever witnessed at a baptism?
I can’t say I’ve ever witnessed anything unexpected. As a child, the one I remember best is my younger brother’s baptism. His godmother, my aunt from Texas, couldn’t make the blessed event in Ohio, so another aunt who was local stood in proxy for her. And his godfather, my uncle who is always late to things, was actually early… but that may have been because we told him it started an hour earlier than it did!

Does your congregation have any special traditions surrounding baptisms?
I just joined my current parish a few weeks ago, so I don’t know if they have any special traditions particular to that congregation. I’ve always liked it when the kids are invited to sit up front to see what is going on, though. And I knew a priest once who always walked the aisle with the newly baptized baby and asked everyone to say hello to the newest member of our family. It took a long time, because you could hear people singing little lullabies as they reached over to touch the kiddo, but they baby was usually either laughing or asleep by the end of it.

Are you a godparent or baptismal sponsor? Have a story to tell?
I’m not, but I would very much like to be. I agonized over the choices of godparents for my children, because I wanted people who would take the promises seriously. It makes me sad that I’m not in touch with The Princess’ godmother anymore. I thought we would be friends forever when I was 17, but it was not to be. Boy-o’s godparents are relatives, so I know where to find them, but they are also of a different faith tradition that practices believer’s baptism, not infant baptism, and they don’t use godparents, so they didn’t quite get what they big deal was or what exactly the role was I was hoping they would play in his spiritual formation. Oh well…

Do you have a favorite baptismal song or hymn?
Not a hymn, but I’m more of a liturgy person. I can find something to love about the music I’m worshiping to no matter if it’s a guitar Mass with 15 people present or Evensong in a majestic cathedral. So, I’ll give you my favorite words of the Baptismal liturgy instead, the words of Thanksgiving over the Water (Book of Common prayer, p.306):

“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.

We thank you, Father, for the water of Baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in joyful obedience to your Son, we bring into his fellowship those who come to him in faith, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

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