Let us welcome the newly baptized

GTS News describes the baptism of Amelia Wall at General's Community Eucharist and how the liturgy demonstrated creative ways of offering the sacrament of baptism.

At General Seminary’s Community Eucharist on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, members of the community welcomed a new member of the Christian household, Amelia Wall. Amelia is the daughter of Pickett Wall, an M.Div. Junior and his wife Lee Anne...

...After the Baptismal Covenant, it took two acolytes to carry an impressive amount of water from the chancel and pour it into the font. Dean Malloy sanctified the water, chanting while submerging both of his hands into the depths, then fully dipped Amelia, naked, into the water, as a powerful representation of her death and resurrection in Christ.

During the singing of the hymn “We know that Christ is raised and dies no more” (The Hymnal 1982 #296), Amelia’s parents dressed her in the white garment of her new life in Christ. Then, Dean Malloy poured onto Amelia the chrism, which dripped into the baptismal waters, causing the Chapel of the Good Shepherd to fill with sweet fragrance. He then gently rubbed the chrism all over Amelia’s head and made the sign of the cross upon her, sealing her by the power of the Holy Spirit and marking her as Christ’s own forever.

In her sermon, Kerlin Richter, an M.Div. Senior, poetically welcomed Amelia into the Christian family:

I am sorry Amelia, but we are bringing you into a family of fools….
We are willing to go recklessly into a world that believes in counting the cost, hedging its bets, saving its skin, and being terrified.
We are going out that door into a world that does not leap into the arms of death.
But Amelia, that is exactly what we will do.
Not just today.
But over and over and over and over again.
Every time we come to this table, we come to die.
We come to live.
And it is because of these dark and dangerous waters of baptism that we know with every pulse of hearts that those are the same thing…

Amelia,
hear our stories,
die with us,
live with us.
taste and see and sing with us.

Comments (1)

What a breathtakingly powerful and expressive way of celebrating baptism! It revealed the full and dramatic impact of the sacrament's elemental materials and signs to show dying and rising with Jesus (Romans 6:3-4), being anointed with the seal of his Spirit and marked as his own (2 Corinthians 1:21-22), and "being clothed with Christ" (Galatians 3:27). Wonderful!

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