Coming off of one of the most wonderful weekends I can remember, I wanted to make sure I documented things.
On Sunday, Mac got baptized! Hooray! (Or “hallelujah,” I think is more appropriate.)
We live in Asheville, NC and have for almost three years now, but we wanted to have him baptized in Alabama since most of our friends and families live there and it would be a bit easier for people to travel to attend. There were so many special details that ended up falling into place, I almost couldn’t believe how well it went.
Instead of having Mac baptized within a church service, we asked the preacher who performed our marriage ceremony, Warren Nash, if he’d be up for doing a smaller ceremony in the chapel of the church where we got married. Since we don’t attend that church anymore, it made more sense to me to do something outside of a normal Sunday service.
Our family and friends filled the little chapel as we got to welcome Mac “officially” into the family of God. I’ll include details that moved me just below, but overarchingly, my two favorite things are (unsurprisingly) the words that get spoken or sung during a United Methodist baptism.
From the congregation:
“With God’s help, we will so order our lives after the example of Christ, that this child, surrounded by steadfast love, may be established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal.”
So beautiful, and a powerful reminder that our obligation is not just on the day of baptism, but every day of this baby’s life - modeling the love, grace, forgiveness, charity, service, and inclusion of Christ. WHEW.
And then, my other favorite, sung by the choir (but in our case, sung by the congregation):
Child of Blessing,
Child of Promise,
Baptized with the Spirit’s sign;
With this water, God has sealed you
Unto love and grace divine.
I mean are ya KIDDING me?! A few minutes before this refrain was sung, the organist and choir director at Canterbury, Lester Seigel, ran down from the choir loft to pass the ministers a note - he decided we should sing all four verses of this hymn, and I’m so glad he did. Somehow the words in each subsequent verse are more tender than the verse before. Cue me weeping.
Some special things about this day:
- The gown Mac is wearing was purchased by my maternal grandmother in London almost 30 years ago - worn by every cousin on my mom’s side, starting with me on the day of my own baptism
- Warren married Jordan and I almost four years ago in the sanctuary a stone’s throw from the chapel; Lester chose and played the music at our wedding, and both were there for Mac’s baptism
- Our recessional at our wedding was the suite from Jurassic Park (before you judge, go listen to it and tell me it’s not fabulous), which Lester sneakily incorporated a few strains of into the prelude. The whole congregation broke up into laughter and it was even more familiar and special
- The water in the baptismal font was a combination of Jordan River water from a trip to Israel my mom took in (what I think was) 2001 and Jordan River water from a 2011 trip to Israel that I took with a group from our church that included both my mom and Warren
- Warren quoted Frederick Buechner at our wedding, and quoted him again on this day in his homily
- The hydrangeas in the wreath on the baptismal font came from our yard in Asheville
All in all, it was so intimate and felt like such a holy experience. There are few opportunities in life wherein you’re surrounded by the people who mean so much to you, but this particular one, looking at a baby who has God’s love all over his face every day, felt like it was almost too pure to bear. Jordan and I are so grateful for the grace that has been shown to us, and Sunday was a beautiful call to action in teaching our son to show grace to others in the name of God.
And, of course - pictures!