Today was Heritage Sunday at St. Matthew’s. With the service held at the beautiful old church at Humphrey Heritage Village using the service from the 1879 Book of Common Prayer, the old time hymns, the members of the congregation who take the time and effort to dress in period clothing, the potluck lunch on the grounds of the Village after the service, and the pie auction it’s always a fun time of fellowship and laughter while remembering our history in Enid and as a church. Today was made extra special with the baptism of the youngest member of the Humphrey family!
I always enjoy baptisms, especially those of children. You never know how the child is going to react to being sprinkled with water and given the sign of the cross. Some are comfortable because their parents are comfortable. Some squirm and wiggle and some cry no matter what the parents do or how comfortable they might be. There is that slight skip in the heartbeat when a young child is given a lighted candle (children playing with fire)! Most of all my heart and soul are refreshed and nourished by the repetition of our baptismal covenant.
Baptism is one of the two great sacraments given to us by Christ. One of the two, along with the Eucharist, that we all participate in. We are reminded during baptisms that we all play a part in bringing up the youth of the church, that we are all godparents to those being baptized. In the language of the 1879 service we were reminded that we are the sureties, those responsible, for this new member of the church. I have always known that as the body of the church we are responsible for each other but baptizing this young man in that 1879 language struck a chord with me today.
I was reminded of my own baptism nearly forty years ago. I was baptized when I was four at the nondenominational church we were attending at the time. It was one of those drown them in the water tank/swimming pool baptisms. For some reason we were expected to speak in tongues shortly after baptism. Is this how they knew it had taken? Other than feeling like I’d been put through a near drowning and feeling as though I needed to join in the speaking in tongues that was happening around me, I don’t remember much else from this momentous occasion. I have many memories from that age and before, but I couldn’t tell you whether the congregation attested to their responsibility to help me with my walk with Christ or not.
What I do know now is that whatever I do in my life I do have a responsibility to my fellow man, and I will do my very best to follow through with my baptismal covenant…
I WILL, WITH GOD’S HELP!