Earlier today, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby baptized His Royal Highness Prince George, the three-month old son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a small private service in the Chapel Royal of St. James Palace in London.
A few highlights from Archbishop Welby’s address have been posted on the Canterbury website. The Archbishop reminded the parents and godparents that the baptism service is not centred on “a maker of rules and regulations” but on “Jesus, who calls each of us to take a journey.”
Those who make the journey must look in two directions-both outward to the world and toward Christ, Welby said. “Jesus tells his disciples to let people come to him. To do that, they have to be outward looking, in touch with the world, welcoming, generous-spirited, alive with the life of the Christ to whom they will introduce all who come.’
He added that as a Christian, Prince George “is to share the life of Christ which is in him, regardless of whom he meets, their faith or nature or habits, so that others find life. That sharing may be in words, or generous actions-most likely both-but it will be both very costly and infinitely rewarding.”
The second direction in which Christians must look is toward Christ, the Archbishop said. “In both readings, Jesus centres the commands on himself: come to me, abide in me. He is the only place to go to for the resources George will need so that he is everything he can be, so that he becomes most fully the person God has created him to be. Without me, says Jesus, you can do nothing.”
According to a news report from the BBC, the duke and duchess chose two hymns, two lessons and two anthems for the christening. The hymns were “Breathe on Me, Breath of God” and “Be Thou My Vision.” Pippa Middleton (the duchess’s sister) and Prince Harry read the lessons from St. Luke and St. John. The anthems were sung by the Choir of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, which performed at the royal couple’s wedding.
Breaking with royal tradition, Zara Tindall, Prince William’s cousin, is the only godparent from the royal family. The other six-Oliver Baker, Emilia Jardine-Paterson, Earl Grosvenor, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, Julia Samuel and William van Cutsem are friends of the royal couple, the BBC reported.
The Church of England issued the following prayers for the royal christening:
Prayer for HRH Prince George
We thank almighty God for the gift of new life.
May God the Father, who has received you by baptism into his Church,
pour upon you the riches of his grace,
that within the company of Christ’s pilgrim people
you may daily be renewed by his anointing Spirit,
and come to the inheritance of the saints in glory.
Prayer for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Faithful and loving God,
bless those who care for these children
and grant them your gifts of love, wisdom and faith.
Pour upon them your healing and reconciling love,
and protect their home from all evil.
Fill them with the light of your presence
and establish them in the joy of your kingdom,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
To see the Archbishop of Canterbury’s video message about the christening, click here.
To see the BBC video of the royal family outside the chapel, click here.
Editor’s note: The photo originally posted with this story has been changed in accordance with a time-limited licensing agreement.