The liberty and splendor of the children of God

On a very sunny Sunday, March 1, Bishop Andrus made an official visitation to St. Anne’s, Fremont. In his sermon on taking up one’s cross, Bishop Marc pointed to how Abraham and Sarah took up their crosses by choosing to take the risk of trusting God, and opening themselves to live the fullest life possible. He said, “We can avoid the cross by living smaller lives, dreaming smaller dreams.” A snapshot of Bishop Andrus’ sermon is available on his blog.

His visitation fell on the Second Sunday in Lent, a time that the Book of Common Prayer notes “provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism.” (BCP 265) How fitting, then, that after the Eucharistic service, a separate blessing of a new fountain at St. Anne’s took place. The fountain is the border of their courtyard, beyond their labyrinth. The newly baptized will have the opportunity to immediately go on a journey through the labyrinth if they choose. 

The blessing rite began, “Repent and be baptized everyone one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ.” Lent is a time when early Christians prepared and present Christians prepare for the days of Christ’s passion and resurrection with penitence and fasting. In the admonition to repentance, those present were reminded of their own repentance at their baptisms as they said, “All of us who are baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ.”

In the prayer of dedication of the font, Andrus prayed, “Grant that through your Spirit that those baptized here may enjoy the liberty and splendor of the children of God,” which those present heard not too long after Jesus’ admonishment to take up one’s cross to follow him, even when facing great opposition and suffering. Following the blessing, the gathered assembly moved from the courtyard to the church’s porch to enjoy the liberty and splendor of the children of God in a potluck reception, complete with a cake modeled after the fountain.