Tag Archives: baptisms

First Lazarus, then palms.

Today was Lazarus Saturday, which has something of the flavor of Pascha, because when Christ raised Lazarus he showed that He had power over death. And eleven people were baptized this morning before the festal Divine Liturgy! That is a lot of joy right there, flowing from “the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.” We had a reception lunch for them, and afterward, no one wanted to go home. The afterglow was clinging to us who rejoiced with the new members, and we also experienced some of the joy of our own baptisms, whether we were able to remember them or not.

The night before, because I was sponsor for one of the catechumens, I attended their last class. Our rector urged the eleven who would the next day be Newly Illumined to forget about social media for Holy Week and Bright Week, and give themselves to accompanying Christ to the Cross by means of the church services. I am trying to do that, too…

But – oops – I looked at Facebook just now, and saw this status from Father Stephen Freeman (from Tennessee):

“It is said that Christ used Lazarus’ name when He raised him from the dead. Had He just said, ‘Come forth!’ everyone in their graves would have come forth.

“St. Paul writes that on the Last Day, Christ will descend from heaven with a shout! I suppose it will be a general, ‘Come forth!’ Sometimes I think it might be, ‘Ya’ll come forth!’ or the Aramaic equivalent.

“That great gettin’ up good morning!”

This evening we had moved on to Vigil for Palm Sunday, and blessing of palm branches. While some of us had been sitting and chatting this afternoon in warmth and light, other dear parishioners had been using the energy from their dose of grace to decorate the church.

“Today the grace of the Holy Spirit has assembled us.” That was one of the lines that I heard a lot at tonight’s service, and then, when the candle chandeliers that had been festooned with palm branches were set swinging, and I was standing under one of them, we sang the long Psalm hymn, “His mercy endureth forever.” Truly.

Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the LORD!

I mark milestones and a heavenly addition.

In my travels over the last nine days, I visited three of my children’s families and was able to be present for big events: the baptism of Annie last Sunday in Oregon, and the high school graduation of Pat in California, just yesterday evening.

While the first of 500+ graduates began walking across the stage to receive their diplomas, I felt my phone vibrating, and since I was expecting some news, I opened it up…. and found the announcement of a new grandchild entering the world, my eleventh grandson, born to Soldier and Joy. He is healthy and beautiful. 🙂

I haven’t had a chance to meet him yet, but I know already that he is like a bit of Heaven dropped down into our lives. His two brothers Liam and Laddie probably won’t see the new arrangement in quite that way, and will have to wait a while for Brodie to participate in their rough-and-tumble playtimes. Given that he is still small and tender, and in spite of the fact that his eyes aren’t likely to be blue, this poem from romantic (and Scottish) George MacDonald seems appropriate to express my thoughts and to accompany our celebrations:

BABY

Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into the here.

Where did you get those eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.

What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry twinkles left in.

Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.

What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.

What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than any one knows.

Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.

Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.

Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into bonds and bands.

Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherubs’ wings.

How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.

But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought about you, and so I am here.

–George MacDonald from At the Back of the North Wind

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