Monday, October 04, 2010

Baptism and the Liturgiacl Cycle

My niece was baptized over the weekend. This is the garment she (very briefly) wore. I am unsure of the lineage of the robe -- I believe my father's father wore it, which would make it a christening gown from around 1910. In any case, I wore it to my baptism, as did my sister and numerous cousins.

I'd always assumed that it was completely hand made, but looking at the stitching, some of us are pretty sure that machines were involved at some point.

The baptism presented some challenges for me personally, as October 3, 2010 was not exactly a cheery day in the Episcopal Liturgical Calendar. Specifically, Psalm 137 reads, "Happy shall be he who takes your [the daughter of Babylon's] little ones / and dashes them against a rock." And Luke 17:5-10 has some interesting things to say about salvation and master-slave relations.

However, I was able to overlook two-thousand year old scripture (by repeating "It's a metaphor" to myself between winces) and appreciate a ritual that knits a family together into a community bringing up children well.

And the readings don't come close to the reading a few baptisms back: "Better to throw the child into the Red Sea with a millstone around its neck than bring it up in a wrong relationship to God."

So kids, repeat after me: "God is not a gang-leader with a list of retaliations for previous slights -- and even if He is, it's not okay for you hurt infants and toddlers."
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