Friday, February 20, 2009

number 4

I got tagged by Andrea!  I have had so much fun reading everyone else's 4th photo posts and was secretly hoping to get tagged.  

Here's the deal.  You have to post the 4th photo from the 4th folder on your computer.  But you see, the problem is, I have a new computer.  So the 4th folder is only from a month ago.  January 17 to be exact.  This gives me the perfect opportunity to share some photos I forgot to post back then. 
This photo is from my goddaughter, Lillian Elisabeth's, baptism.  This was near the beginning of the baptism service, and what you can't see from the photo is that I am shaking like a leaf.  I was terribly afraid she would start crying at any moment.  

If you know anything about Orthodox baptisms, you know the odds are that the baby will cry.  No, rather scream!  Picture this:  Imagine you're a baby.  Someone who isn't your mommy is holding you, for a long time.  Some man with a beard keeps talking.  Then he dunks you under water, THREE TIMES!  There's a whole lot going on.  It's pretty nerve-racking for the child and their godparent. 

But, Lillian Elisabeth, she was an angel.  She barely cried once, and even then it was only a whimper.  

Now it's your turn, I tag: Claire, Liz C., Susan and my new blog friend Laura.  (You know Marjo, I'd love to tag you but you don't have a blog... I convinced Claire to get one now it's your turn!!!) 

Here are some more chronological pictures of the baptism.  Here's a link to the text of the service of Holy Baptism, and if you want to know some more theological explanations of what took place in the photos below read this article. 

We stood on the Solea and I held Lillian throughout the service.  This picture is from the beginning.  This is while Father Troy was praying one of the first petitions of the service.  (From left to right: Me holding Lillian, Fr. Troy and Deacon Tim.)

During this portion of the service the priest breathes the sign of the cross onto the child's head, I think this is part of the exorcism, someone correct me if I'm wrong.  (I just realized the word exorcism sounds pretty scary to someone who isn't used to hearing that word.  But doesn't it make sense to "expel every evil and impure spirit" during such a Holy Sacrament?) Notice the contented face Lillian is making.  I think this was her favorite part.  Babies love having someone blow on their faces, so sweet.  
This next picture makes me smile, and want to cry at the same time!  When we baptize children in the Orthodox Church we really baptize them, no sprinkle.  We're talking full immersion.  This will be the child's only baptism, they will not be baptized again when they have a conversion experience later in life.  (Note: I know that this is not a great theological explanation of what we believe about baptism...  but this is simply what I believe.  If you have questions I'd love to explain it further.)  

The priest immerses the child 3 times.  (We like the number 3 in Orthodoxy, you know because of the Holy Trinity.)  While he is baptizing the child he said: "The handmaid of God Lillian Elisabeth is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen."  

You've got to love the naked baby coming out of the water picture!  (Don't worry, I was holding her specially monogrammed towel, thanks mom, to receive her as soon as she came out of the water.  No goddaughter of mine is going to get cold!)

This is the tonsure, that takes place after the baptism.  The priest cuts tiny bits of the child's hair from 4 spots, in the sign of the Cross, and places it into the censer with the rest of the incense.  She did a great job during this part, but was so enamored with her priest and kept trying to stare at him while he cut.
Then we made a procession around the baptismal font.  After this, the congregation sang "God grant you many years" to the newly illumined Lillian.  (Sorry, blogger's acting up and I couldn't upload the photo of that.)

After the baptism, we had a lovely reception.  Here I am with Lillian and her mom, Beauvais.  
The next morning Lillian received Holy Communion for the first time.  We receive the Eucharist, or Communion, from the priest with a spoon.  The bread and wine are together in the chalice.  I can't explain how incredible it is to hold a child while they receive Christ's body and blood for the first time in their life.  I was probably more nervous on Sunday morning than I was throughout the baptism. 
May God grant you many years Lillian!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

such precious pictures of the beautiful baptism. Thanks for sharing. when i have kids, i'll have a blog. i'll leave it at that, but i do thank you for the very large shout out!
Marj.

Claire said...

check out laura's blog about tea towels- you have to do this!

elizabeth cameron said...

ok, i posted my picture just for you!