Baptism of Eleanor Louise Halloran
Easter Sunday, 2000
Terry: Suzanne and Daniel, what name have you given to your child?
Suzanne and Daniel: Eleanor Louise.
Terry: Suzanne and Daniel, what do you ask of God for Eleanor Louise?
Suzanne and Daniel: Baptism, faith and life.
Terry: Suzanne and Daniel, you have asked to have Eleanor Louise baptized. In doing so you are accepting the responsibility of training her in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring her up to keep God's commandments, by loving God and our neighbor. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?
Suzanne and Daniel: We do.
Terry: Adam and Lesley, are you ready to help Suzanne and Daniel in their duty as parents?
Adam and Lesley: We are.
Terry: Eleanor Louise, the community of faith welcomes you with great joy. In its name I claim you for the family of God. I now place my hand on your forehead, and I invite your mother and father and godparents to do the same.
First Terry, then Suzanne and Daniel, then Adam and Lesley place their hands on the forehead of Eleanor Louise.
Terry: Now let us listen to the words of the Bible and reflect on God's written word.
Terry: The first reader will be Eleanor Louise's great-grandmother Billee.
A reading from the book of Genesis:
The flood lasted forty days on the earth. The waters swelled, lifting the ark until it was raised above the earth. The waters rose and swelled greatly on the earth, and the ark sailed on the waters. The waters rose more and more on the earth so that all the highest mountains under the whole of heaven were submerged.
God sent a wind across the earth and the waters subsided. The springs of the deep and the sluices of heaven were stopped. Rain ceased to fall from heaven; the waters gradually ebbed from the earth. After a hundred and fifty days the waters fell, and in the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of that month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The waters gradually fell until the tenth month when, on the first day of the tenth month, the mountain peaks appeared.
God said, "Here is the sign of the Covenant I make between myself and you and every living creature with you for all generations. I set my bow in the clouds and it shall be a sign of the Covenant between me and the earth. When I gather the clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the Covenant between myself and you and every living creature of every kind. And so the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all things of flesh."
The word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.
Terry: The second reader will be Eleanor Louise's grandfather's sister-in-law Theresa.
A reading from the book of Exodus:
Yahweh said to Moses, "Why do you cry to me so? Tell the sons of Israel to march on. For yourself, raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and part it for the sons of Israel to walk through the sea on dry ground."
Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. Yahweh drove back the sea with a strong easterly wind all night, and he made dry land of the sea. The waters parted and the sons of Israel went on dry ground right into the sea, walls of water to right and to left of them.
The returning waters overwhelmed the chariots and the horsemen of Pharaoh's whole army, which had followed the Israelites into the sea. Israel witnessed the great act that Yahweh had performed against the Egyptians, and the people venerated Yahweh; they put their faith in Yahweh and in Moses, his servant.
The word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.
Whenever the church finds something mysterious, it makes a sacrament out of it.
We don't fully understand nature. Oil heals and protects. Bread rises, wine ferments. Repentance refreshes the soul. Married love reflects God's love for all of us. Puzzled, we've made all of them holy signs.
We don't know exactly why, but water gives new life. Angry, we take shower and we feel better. Stressed, we go for a swim and we're calm again. Baptism is the sacrament of water.
For couple of thousand years, this has been the way we welcome new members into to community of faith. Welcome, Eleanor Louise.
Terry: My brothers and sisters, let us ask God to look lovingly on Eleanor Louise who is to be baptized, on her mother and father and godparents, and on all God's family.
Lord, by the mystery of your saving grace, bathe Eleanor Louise in light, give her the new life of baptism and welcome her into your family. Make her your faithful follower and witness to your word. Lead her by a holy life to the joys of God's kingdom. Make the lives of Eleanor Louise's mother and father and godparents examples of faith to inspire her. Keep her family always in your love. Renew the grace of our baptism in each one of us.
Almighty God, you rescue us from the slavery of sin, and you give us the freedom only your sons and daughters enjoy. We now pray for Eleanor Louise, who will have to face the world with its temptations. Bring Eleanor Louise out of the power of darkness. Strengthen her with your grace, and watch over her at every step in life's journey. We ask this in your name.
Terry: Eleanor Louise, may you have strength in the power of God, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Terry: My dear brothers and sisters, we now ask God to give Eleanor Louise new life in abundance through water and God's grace.
Generous creator in heaven, you give us grace through natural signs, which tell us of the wonders of your unseen power.
In baptism we use your gift of water, which you have made a rich symbol of the grace you gave us in this mystery.
At the very dawn of creation your Spirit breathed on the waters, making them the wellspring of all holiness.
The waters of the great flood you made a sign of the waters of baptism, that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness.
Through the waters of the Red Sea you led Israel out of slavery, to be an image of God's holy people, set free from sin by faith.
Terry (touching the water): God of life, now look with love on your people gathered here today, and unseal for us the fountain of baptism. By the power of faith give to the water of this font the grace that saves us. You created us in your own likeness: cleanse us from sin in a new birth to innocence by water and faith.
We ask you, Lord, to bless the water of this font. We ask this in your name.
Terry: Suzanne and Daniel and Adam and Lesley, you have come here to present Eleanor Louise for baptism. By water and faith she is to receive the gift of new life from God, who is love.
On your part, you must make it your constant care to bring Eleanor Louise up in the practice of the faith. See that the divine life which God gives her is kept safe from the poison of sin, to grow always stronger in her heart.
Terry (pouring the water): Eleanor Louise, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Terry (touching the cristening gown): Eleanor Louise, you have become a new creation, and have clothed yourself in faith. See in this white garment the outward sign of your dignity as God's child. With your family and friends to help you by word and example, wear that dignity unstained throughout your life.
Terry: Family and friends, Eleanor Louise has been reborn in baptism. She is now called a child of God, for indeed she is.
May God, the source of life and love, who fills the hearts of parents with love for their children, bless Eleanor Louise's mother and father. As Suzanne and Daniel thank God for a safe delivery, may they find joy in the love, growth and holiness of their child.
May God, who loves all people, bless all the relatives and friends who are gathered here. In his mercy, may he guard them from evil and give them his abundant peace.
And may almighty God bless you, now and forever.