Monday, June 23, 2008

Churching

Yesterday Tali and I were "churched" and JT and Ben experienced their first Confessions in the Holy Orthodox Church. It turned out to be a short-lived Liturgy for our first time back since Tali's birth. JT succumbed to the family's diarrhea bug shortly after the start of the service and I ended up taking home JT and the youngest four as Nathan and David were also languishing in the tail end effects it's hold (pun intended...).

At any rate, the churching ceremony was very special and Ben was on hand to take a few pictures. We discussed whether or not we should wait the full forty days. I did stay home last Sunday which was a big deal for this cradle never-miss-a-Sunday Protestant and it seemed spiritually difficult for me and logistically difficult for Tad to wait out the remainder of the time. Fr. Greg let it be up to us - I don't think he really expected us to wait the full forty days.
O Lord God, Who ever draws near for the salvation of the human race, come also to this Your servant Mary, and through the prayers of Your venerable Priesthood account her worthy to find refuge in Your holy Catholic Church, to obtain entrance into the Temple of Your Glory, and worthy also to partake of the Precious Body and Blood of Your Christ. In the fulfillment of the forty days, wash away from her every transgression, voluntary and involuntary, so that accounted worthy to enter Your holy Temple, she may glorify with us Your All; Holy Name, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

There was that mention of finding refuge in the holy Catholic Church again. I am feeling more and more nestled into the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit each time I hear that phrase - the church as refuge - yes, Lord! But it was at this point I also realized this isn't just a trite little ceremony written into the prayer book as a pleasantry. It has meaning, it has purpose and perhaps I should have at least tried to wait out the forty days. Did I miss out on some spiritual blessings by not taking that time prescribed by the Church? I don't know. I'm sure no one is faulting me for it but it does give me pause to wonder. Maybe next time....

Then it was Tali's turn for a powerful prayer:
O Lord our God, Who on the fortieth day was brought as a child into the Temple of the Law by Mary, the Virgin Bride and Your holy Mother, and was carried in the arms of the righteous Symeon, do You also, Sovereign Master All-Powerful, bless this presented babe that it may appear before You, the Creator of all things. And do You increase in her every good work acceptable to You, removing from her every opposing might by the sign of the likeness of Your Cross; for You are He Who guards infants, O Lord. So that, accounted worthy of holy Baptism,she may obtain the portion of Your Elect of the Kingdom, being protected with us by the Grace of the Holy Consubstantial and Undivided Trinity. For unto You do we send up Glory, Honor and Worship, with Your Eternal Father and Your All; Holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

There's nothing like prayers that arise straight out of the creeds of the Church. This prayer was a statement to worlds seen and unseen - let there be no doubt to Whom Tali belongs!

Then, taking up the child, the Priest lifts it up in the sign of the Cross before the Gates of the Temple, saying:

The servant of God Talitha is churched, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I will go into Your House. I will worship toward Your Holy Temple in fear of You.

Coming to the center of the church, he says:

The servant of God Talitha is churched, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. In the midst of the congregation I will sing praises to You.

Then he brings the child before the Doors of the Altar, saying:

The servant of God Talitha is churched, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It was beautiful to watch Tali being introduced to the Church in the hands of our priest - the Church Militant surrounding us, the saints and angels whose visages we see dimly through the eyes of the icons, and Christ Himself at the altar. This will be Tali's world - for truly she is not part of any other.I was so sorry to have to leave so abruptly - especially to miss Holy Communion. It seemed like I was taking my blessing and making a run for it. I suppose that is just another of the challenges of a large family.

4 comments:

DebD said...

How sweet. I love churchings. So sorry some of your little ones are sick.

magda said...

How wonderful! Thank you for sharing! (I'm due in September with my first, so I'm eating up all the baby things here and at your other blog.)

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

She's beautiful.

Many years to her and to all of you!

Michelle Melania said...

How beautiful! Congratulations on the birth of Tali. I am enjoying your blog! Thanks for commenting on mine.