Sunday, April 06, 2008

Jewel"s Christening

Eric said it was "The Clampets Go to Church." I don't think it was quite that, but it was definitely interesting with a rowdy 3-year-old and a little baby that has found her voice! Jewel makes a sound something akin to a tom cat right now while she's experimenting with her voice. And so she was meowing like crazy all through the service. We'd have removed her from the service, but it was HER service. She needed to be there!

She was able to be christened in the family christening gown. It has a ribbon run through it and it's been a blue ribbon for the last 47 years since it was blue for my brother's christening in 1962 and then blue for Liam in 2005. For Jewel we got to take the blue out and put a pink ribbon in. What was really sweet was to find little bits of the pink ribbon left from my christening -- and presumably the christening of both my mother and her sister. We really don't know how old the gown is, but it has the potential for being something like 75 - 100 years old. It's a nice bit of family continuity.

Jenn's daddy was a minister that STRONGLY believed that one didn't make one's baptism until one was old enough to choose it. Infant baptism was totally against his beliefs, and so, regretfully, Jenn was not christened in the gown, but she has lovingly place her imprint on it by putting the pink ribbon in for Jewel and washing it and storing it for future generations of babies.

We had a lovely, lovely celebration lunch at Eric's parents' home. Jenn's other two sisters came, as well as some other friends of theirs. It was a lovely celebration.

I was struck by the language in the baptismal covenent. Although Jenn's dad would have troubles with the service and the idea of infant baptism, I suspect he could go right along with the wording of the several promises we make on behalf of little Jewel. They are strong words that we don't often hear in the Episcopal church, but I like how we affirm them: "I will with God's help." The promises are big ones. "Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons?" Who can do that without the help of something bigger than themselves? I hope that the love that surrounded both Liam and Jewel today, will be something they can cherish and share with others throughout their lives.

Hazel, our priest, attempted to give a sermon (above the din of the Clampet children) today about the enduring qualities of people. How after someone goes on to larger life, you can still catch yourself seeing them or their manerisms in other people. I thought it was nice to have that to hold on to as I thought about the grandparents, the great-grandparents and all the "family" that could not be at the christening for their transition to larger life. I can see some of my dad in Liam, so my dad is still with me. I see some of Jenn's father in Liam, so her daddy is still with her in a way. I'm sure if I knew more about Eric's loved ones, I could perceive them in Liam or Jewel too. It's just about keeping the treasure of those who've gone on and seeing them here in the present. It's a good reminder that it's more than a genetic heritage, but one of the heart and mind too that we carry along with us as well.

I'll post more when I'm not so tired. Thanks to all the people who made today special. Apologies to the choir member that Jewel barfed on. ;) What can you do?

Thanks to those who have used the link to Jenn's website for the 3-day walk. Your generosity of spirit and money is a blessing today as well.

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