This past week here in Hamilton our Community Holy Week Services were held at St. Mary’s Scottish Episcopal Church. Services followed the time-tested liturgy of that tradition. The Scottish Episcopal Church is it’s own separate communion. Unlike the US Episcopals, it is not a part of the Anglican tradition of England, nor is it in fellowship with the Catholic Church. It is the Scottish Episcopal Church, part of the Protestant tradition with its own history and its own prayer book.
I really appreciated the richness of the words and was given my own copy of their prayer book for further reading. We held a baptism at yesterday’s Easter service and you’ll find the liturgy below. Put your blindfold on and see if you can tell where it came from.
Beloved, in Christ Jesus, we are taught in the Scriptures that all people from their birth are prone to sin, prone to wander from God, but that God wills that all people shall be saved, for God is love. Because Jesus said, “No one can enter the kingdom of heaven unless he is born anew of water and the Holy Spirit; I adjure you to call upon God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that through his incredible mercy he will grant to this child, that which by nature he cannot have, that he may be baptized with water and the Holy Spirit, and received into Christ’s Holy church and be made a living member of it.
Prayer: Almighty and everlasting God, who by the Baptism of your beloved Son Jesus Christ in the waters of the Jordan river, did sanctify water to the mystical washing away of sin: Mercifully look upon this child; wash him and sanctify him with the Holy Spirit; that he may be received in the ark of Christ’s church; being made steadfast in faith, joyful through hope, and rooted in charity, may he pass through the waves of this troubled world, that he finally may come to the land of everlasting life, there to reign with you, world without end, through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN.
Scripture Lesson: Mark 10:13
“They brought young children to Jesus, so that he would touch them; but his disciples turned them away with strong words. But, when Jesus saw it, he was greatly displeased, and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not prevent them, for to such as these belong the Kingdom of Heaven. Truly I say to you, Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children up in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.”
Vows: Mum and Dad, you have brought this child here to be baptized; you have prayed that our Lord Jesus Christ would be pleased to receive him, to cleanse him, and to sanctify him. Our Lord Jesus promised in the Gospel to grant all these things to you, a promise he will most surely keep.
I ask you then to do three things on behalf of your son: first that he will renounce the power of the devil and his works; secondly, that he will constantly believe God’s holy word as it is revealed to us in scripture; and thirdly, that he will obediently keep his commandments.
Will you, profess your faith in Jesus Christ and commit yourself to doing these three things?
Congregation: Will you, the people of God’s church commit yourself to the love, nurture and admonition of this young family and by prayer, word and deed enable them to fulfil their vows to God this day?
Profession of Faith: Apostle’s Creed, p. 628
Prayer: O most merciful God, grant that the old Adam in this child may be buried forever that the new man may be raised up in its place. Grant that all evil desires of the flesh may die in him, and that all things belonging to the Spirit may grow and flourish in him. Grant that he might have power and strength to have victory and to triumph over the devil, the world and the weaknesses of his own flesh. Give grace to this congregation that they may become for this child the living body of Christ and testify to the power and the presence of your Holy Spirit.
We humbly ask that you send upon us and upon this water your Holy Spirit so that this boy, being buried with Jesus Christ may be raised to newness of life; and being born anew of water and the Holy Spirit may remain forever in the number of your faithful children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be all glory, honour and power, now and forever, AMEN.
Baptism: C.A.S.M, I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Thanksgiving: Gracious King we now give you thanks for the fulfilment of all your promises, testified most vividly in the bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and now, through the waters of baptism, in the life of this precious child. Let us believe and testify with the saints of every age and place that He is risen, he is risen indeed!