Newly illumined!

July 6, 2010

The baptism and chrismation on Sunday went exceedingly well. I really could not have asked for Calvin (his Christian name is David – his middle name) to do any better than he did.

The ceremony was very beautiful. We were very honored to have our local family in attendance.

Calvin cried when he was baptized – no surprise there! But he calmed right back down.

Thanks to my brother-in-law, we also have the whole ceremony on video. We published some of it here. I had watched several videos of baptisms but I never was able to find one of a toddler my son’s age. Hopefully this is helpful for someone out there.

Tomorrow my 22 month old son will be baptized. It’s a very big deal for many reasons, the primary of which is that it initiates the experience of salvation:

Baptism is the way in which a person is actually united to Christ. The experience of salvation is initi­ated in the waters of baptism. The Apostle Paul teaches in Romans 6:1-6 that in baptism we experience Christ’s death and Resurrection. In it our sins are truly forgiven and we are energized by our union with Christ to live, a holy life. Nowadays, some consider baptism to be only an “outward sign” of belief in Christ. This innovation has no historical or biblical precedent. Others reduce it to a mere perfunctory obedience to Christ’s command (cf. Matthew 28:19, 20). Still others, ignoring the Bible completely, reject baptism as a vital factor in salvation. Orthodoxy maintains that these contempo­rary innovations rob sincere people of the important assurance that baptism provides-namely that they have been united to Christ and are part of His Church. source

It will be a triple immersion baptism (same as his mommy!) Orthodox Christians typically immerse although the practice apparently varies somewhat:

The word baptize derives from baptizo, the transliterated form of the Greek word βάπτειν or baptivzw. In a historical context, it means “to dip, plunge, or immerse” something entirely, e.g. into water. source

The Didache gives instruction for an baptism in running water, unless this is not an option (whenever I think of this, I always imagine Christians in the desert):

1 Concerning baptism, baptise thus: Having first rehearsed all these things, “baptise, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” in running water; 2 but if thou hast no running water, baptise in other water, and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm. 3 But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head “in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” 4 And before the baptism let the baptiser and him who is to be baptised fast, and any others who are able. And thou shalt bid him who is to be baptised to fast one or two days before. source

After the baptism, we will all be received into the church through chrismation. My husband and I have both been previously baptized in the name of the Trinity, so we will not be re-baptized.

For the past month I’ve been feeling a bit nervous about the baptism and chrismation — primarily the baptism of an unsuspecting toddler. As the day has drawn closer my nerves have begun to calm down. In just ten hours from now, we will officially be Orthodox Christians. Wow. If you had told me this a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Icons of Innocence

February 21, 2010

The Holy Innocents. As a mother I find this icon incredibly moving.

In the middle of today’s homily a baby on the other side of the temple began to cry. A minute later my own toddler began to wail, too. The priest’s voice was not overly loud and it seemed to me that he was completely drowned out by these two wailing children. I quickly exited to calm down my son. When I returned my husband told me that the priest had mentioned that babies are “icons of innocence.” What a beautiful view of young children, and so different from the “beat the sin out of ’em” viewpoint that I sometimes hear in other Christian circles.

While there may be some differences among individual parishes, overall I really appreciate the way that children are treated in the Orthodox church.