Moving straight from politics to religion…how unwise is that?
Last Sunday another woman and I were officially “received” as members of the Episcopal Church, a mother and her three children were baptized, and two other people were “confirmed”.
This was rather momentous for me as I am slow to commit to things. I like to survey the landscape and be sure. Scott, on the other hand, jumps in with both feet, always. He was “received” a year ago, but I wasn’t ready or sure at that time. But now I am.
It’s akin to church membership–although Father Kevin mentioned to me once that I was already a member of Grace Church–by which I gather he meant that membership at the local level is a matter of taking stock of the obvious.
But congregational voting and certain ministries are reserved for adult members who have expressed a mature affirmation of faith in being confirmed (what they call it if you grew up in the church) or received (what they call it if you came from another church).
I confess it helped me decide to be “received” that I didn’t have to pledge or commit anything vis a vis the Episcopal church, but rather to affirm my “renunciation of evil” and my commitment to Jesus. Then I was prayed for by the congregation and prayed over by the bishop:
“We recognize you as a member of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church, and we receive you into the fellowship of this Communion. God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bless, preserve and keep you. Amen.”
My favorite words of the day were those spoken over each newly baptized person. After each baptism, the bishop traced a little cross on their forehead with oil on his finger saying,
“you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever.”
That phrase, “marked as Christ’s own forever.” Beautiful, isn’t it?
And it is something worth remembering.