One of the lovely and important aspects of the establishment of the Church of England is that the sacraments of the Church (marriage and baptism) can become teaching moments for a whole nation. We will be baptizing two babies at Grace on All Saints’ Sunday (November 3) and I was talking yesterday evening with one set of parents, I mentioned today’s baptism. I’m sharing these links because they help us reflect on what baptism means for us, and especially what it means in an increasingly secular society.
The Church of England created a lovely and thoughtful video in which the Archbishop articulates the meaning of the rite:
Cathleen Grossman writes about the decline in numbers of baptism across the US. The numbers of baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention fell to about the same number as in 1948, when the total membership of the denomination was less than half what it is today. In 1970, about 20% of the babies born in the United States were baptized Roman Catholic; today, that has fallen to 8%.
The Guardian notes that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have selected seven of their friends to be Prince George’s godparents and have solicited stories from readers about what their experiences of the relationship.
And from the Church of England, prayers for the Royal Christening (actually, prayers for all baptisms):
Prayer for HRH Prince George
We thank almighty God for the gift of new life.
May God the Father, who has received you by baptism into his Church,
pour upon you the riches of his grace,
that within the company of Christ’s pilgrim people
you may daily be renewed by his anointing Spirit,
and come to the inheritance of the saints in glory.
Prayer for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Faithful and loving God,
bless those who care for this child
and grant them your gifts of love, wisdom and faith.
Pour upon them your healing and reconciling love,
and protect their home from all evil.
Fill them with the light of your presence
and establish them in the joy of your kingdom,
through Jesus Christ our Lord