Certain life events have particular significance in our journey with God, and as such, are acknowledged by the church with special rituals and liturgy. Emmanuel welcomes people from within and beyond our community to acknowledge these special occasions in our midst, or in our space.
Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which one becomes a Christian, a member of the Body of Christ, a partner with Christ in saving the world, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of God. It is an event of importance and celebration both for the individual Christian and for the whole church. Parents and godparents who present children for baptism discover that their participation has a profound effect on their own spiritual lives. Adults who come to be baptized experience this as a crucial step in their journey of faith.
A wedding is a sacred ritual that acknowledges and celebrates your desire to enter a lifelong relationship. It symbolizes the ending of former ways of life and other future possibilities, and establishes a particular pathway into the future – one that you promise to travel together. By uniting within the context of a faith community, you recognize that God is active in the love you feel for one another, and you place your relationship in God’s care.
The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised. The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy, in the certainty that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8). This joy, however, does not make human grief un-Christian. The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend. So, while we rejoice that the one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, we join in sorrow and sympathy with those who mourn.