ROYAL BABY PRINCE GEORGE IS CHRISTENED (23rd October 2013)
The Baptism or Christening service in The Church of England is a sacred, solemn ceremony. It is also very joyful. During the service the Parents and God-Parents promise to bring the child up within the church and to teach the child the Holy Bible and about Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby stressed the importance of this during the ceremony. He said it is a privilege to be given children to care for and also a task that can be difficult at times but also joyful. If they encourage the child to learn about Our Saviour Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Holy Bible it will be a great help to them in life.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he hopes the “extraordinary” baptism of Prince George will inspire others to seek the same ceremony.
The Most Rev Justin Welby performed the christening at the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace.
The archbishop said he hoped people would not view baptism as only for a future king or “special people”.
“All babies are unbelievably special, not only royal babies,” he said.
The prince, George Alexander Louis who was born on 22 July 2013 at St Mary’s Hospital in London, is the son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and is third in line to the throne.
His baptism, described by the Archbishop of Canterbury as “hugely important”
“As a nation we’re celebrating the birth of someone who in due course will be the head of state,” he said.
“That’s extraordinary. It gives you this sense of forward looking, of the forwardness of history as well as the backwardness of history, and what a gift to have this new life and to look forward.”
But he said Prince George would be joining two billion people around the world in the “family of the church” when he was baptised, adding “the great good news is that God doesn’t care who we are”.
But he said his message to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be “A child, what an amazing gift, what wonderful times you will have”.
The following is an article in the Daily Mail Newspaper by Bel Mooney
Why In This Sceptical Age We Still Love A Christening.
The moment is solemn, yet often punctuated by laughter. The minister reaches out to hold the baby, who sometimes peers up at this too-friendly stranger in weird clothes — and wails. Or just looks faintly puzzled, as if to ask: ‘What’s going on?’
The parents usually smile, perhaps through tears; the grandparents look anxious, wanting no tantrums; the godparents stand tall, proud to be chosen — and the wider group of family and friends just look happy. Then, with a gentle hand, the minister carefully ladles holy water on the little head, saying: ‘I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’ The sign of the Cross comes next, and that’s it — the baby has been received into the Christian church. In that special, sacred moment the child takes his or her place within a great tradition.
The ceremony invokes timeless spiritual values which are to be a source of strength for the child as he or she grows to face the challenges of life. But serious as the moment is, congregations nowadays usually burst into applause — in a lovely sharing of happiness. Yesterday, it delighted me to imagine that ceremony in the ancient Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace. As a monarchist and a Christian, it had deep meaning for me, as it did for many people in this country whose voices are often drowned out by the carping nastiness which seems to be so prevalent these days.
What’s more, as someone who’s passionate about family values and traditions, I loved the double importance of what was happening. Yes, it was a sacramental moment of solemn importance — when Prince George was initiated into the family of the Church of England, which he will one day lead. I revere religious ceremony at a time when Christianity feels marginalised, and I respect and value the continuity of our great British institutions. But it was a personal, family occasion, too — a fact which was reflected in the intimacy of the gathering. When I watched the guests arrive, it occurred to me how universal and egalitarian the whole occasion was.
For the joyful ceremony of baptism is not a privilege for the royal or the rich or anybody else remote from everyday experience. No, Baptism, one of the most important ceremonies in a human life is readily available to everyone, in every single church in this land.
A few weeks ago, we had a christening in our own family — probably four times as large as Prince George’s gathering. My daughter and her husband marked their daughter’s first birthday with a christening in front of the whole congregation of the church in Bath where they married in 2009. Chloe, who had four godparents, wore a christening gown made from her other grandmother’s white wedding dress. Already a seasoned performer, she didn’t shed a tear, but waved her arms merrily at the font. And to make the occasion extra special, my daughter Kitty (who had never been baptised) chose to join her child and bend her own head to the holy water, too.
Parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends all beamed —and so did the members of the congregation who have nothing to do with our family.
The very jolly vicar ensured it was anything but stuffy — quite the opposite. And afterwards we all went back to our place for plenty of sparkling wine.
And why not? Because, for all its solemn ceremonial, a christening is a celebration.
Even if you are not devout, having your child baptised takes trouble and effort — and is therefore the polar opposite of the lazy attitudes to tradition and the family which blight modern life. A baby has been born and the parents have chosen to bring him or her up in a certain way, witnessed by friends and family who have the same values.
No matter how sophisticated — or cynical – we become, great moments in life still fill us with awe. Every time this happens, something of incalculable significance is occurring, too — people are taking their part within a cultural tradition which makes them part of a whole, larger than themselves. Birth, marriage, death . . . these are the most significant punctuation marks in an individual’s lifetime, giving meaning to every culture. We could add christening, coming-of-age, betrothal, big birthdays, retirement . . . moments marked by the pop of a cork, affectionate speeches, gifts. Such rites of passage speak of the eternal human need for ritual.
They link us with our first ancestors, who raised their arms in unison to the sky.
The Nigerian Yoruba (to name but one tribe) have naming ceremonies with traditional poetry, drums and a feast, just like the Native American peoples.
The Hindu ceremony involves blessed water, as does the Sikh version; Latvians, Jews and the Chinese bring gifts and wear their finest clothes; Muslims share food with relatives and friends and also distribute it to the needy, and so on. These are universal emotions.
The sharing of food, the giving of gifts, and the ceremonial uttering of the name of the child are all magical elements which people enjoy all around the world. Such naming ceremonies make a profound statement —social, as well as religious.
They say: ‘Welcome! You are now a real, whole person and can take your rightful place within our community. We will take care of you, and later you will return to provide support for us.’
The need for ritual, I believe, does not diminish in a sceptical age, and as a churchgoer myself, I’m happy that — though church attendances are dwindling — the number of Baptisms is holding up. It’s interesting to speculate why. Do non-churchgoers find within themselves an ancient need to bow the knee (metaphorically) within a holy place? To acknowledge the great mystery of life for the sake of their child? The answer must be yes.
Yet I’m also pleased that non-religious naming ceremonies are popular. For some people, it can be more honest to mark the joy of the formal welcome with a civil ceremony or a ritual of your own devising. I’ve been to a self-organised, secular wedding and a similar funeral, and both were truly wonderful because of the creative love that went into them. About one third of UK families fail to celebrate their new babies in any formal way, and I really do think they are missing out
Because whether it’s a traditional baptism or a naming ceremony, an actual event acknowledges the importance of the new arrival in front of family and friends who bear witness. This is crucial, because private joy is given communal dignity.
All those present — whether in church or chapel or in a field or a flower-bedecked living room — know instinctively that they are taking part in something that is both deeply personal and profoundly important for the good of society. And what happened yesterday in the chapel at St James’s Palace was an acknowledgement of that.
It sounds too simple but if you put Jesus first in everything you do, think and say, (as far as you are able to, or know how to), everything in life will gradually get better and better as time goes on. (This does not mean that you will not have any problems. It is just that Jesus helps us through any problems we have in this life.) Your priorities will gradually become easier too. You will become more practised as you go on in life and learn more and more about what it means to put Jesus first. The Holy Spirit will teach you all you need to know about this, once you have asked Jesus into your heart and asked Him to be your personal Saviour and LORD. We learn through reading The Holy Bible, praying(pouring your heart out to God) and throughout life, as God guides us through all the joys and sorrows that happen to everyone.
Let’s take this one step at a time. First somebody is going to have to catch the fish.”
Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps. — Saul Bellow
I recommend that you watch The Revelation TV Channel on Sky channel number 581 or Freesat channel 692 and Roku Box UK and USA. You can also watch programmes on their website at http://www.revelationtv.com/ They are a Christian channel. They have live, interactive programmes, which are wonderful for people who are lonely and many programmes that help people learn about the love of God and how to live the Christian life. The presenters and guests make you feel that you are part of the Church family.
If you feel you need God in your life and you don’t know how to find Him and you feel alone, lost, guilty and frightened, I recommend the website from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association http://www.PeaceWithGod.net