Friday, June 23, 2017

Saturday Baptism revisited

Once, years ago--a decade if not more--I was at St. John's on a Saturday by myself doing something or another (or perhaps my unruly God wanted me there!) when someone rang the doorbell. I went to see who it was and encountered 20 or so Hispanic folks. One of them who spoke English told me they just wanted a place to pray for a while. So I let them in.

The same person, who was to be the god-father of the baby who was with the crowd...most of whom were weeping quietly...told me they had been across the Green at Immaculate Conception RC church to have the baby baptized. The priest asked who the god parents were and asked them if they were Roman Catholic. The man talking to me said he was an Evangelical and when the priest found that out he refused to baptize little Louisa. So they came to St. John's to mourn and pray for a while.

I let them be for 10 minutes or so and then went back and found my confidant and asked him if the parents would let me baptize Louisa. They readily agreed and I got the oil and water (some water, if I remember correctly, that I'd brought back from the Jordon River on a trip to Israel).

So, I did the baptism, though about half of the group didn't understand exactly what I was saying and offered the group Communion. They all received! Amazing.

I never saw them again, to my knowledge, but I was sure I had done the least that God expected of me. I couldn't take away the pain of their church rejecting them, but I could offer and bring the sacraments into that day of anguish.

Some, I know, would say I didn't 'do my duty' since I hadn't prepared them with pre-baptismal instruction and required them to come to St. John's in the future. But that's just pious bullsh*t as far as I can tell.

The sacraments belong to God--not the church and certainly not the priest.

Little Louisa was 'marked as Christ's own forever'. And she is. She'd be approaching her teen years now--if ever there is a period to be marked as Christ's own!!!

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.