Posted September 8, 2011on:
Last Sunday, Grant gave Bracken a name and a blessing. This is an ordinance in the LDS church, in which a priesthood bearer, in this case, Bracken’s father, gives a baby a new name (their name in this life) and blesses the infant with comfort, guidance, and encouragement at the beginning of his earthly journey. The ordinance is performed at the beginning of a regular church meeting (anyone, member or not, is invited to attend these meetings). The priesthood bearer, often the father of the child being blessed, stands in a circle with a few other priesthood bearers that he has invited to participate (which includes family, close friends, and a bishop) and they each hold the baby with one hand and close the circle with the other. Then the father gives the child a name and blesses the baby with whatever he feels inspired to.
Grant invited a handful of very special people to participate in Bracken’s blessing: Bracken’s grandfathers, Bracken’s great grandfathers, our bishop, and his lifetime friend, David Holladay. The words of the blessing were sweet and powerful. I do not want to share them here as they are sacred to me, but it was a very special moment. Grant got a little chocked up as he blessed our sweet little guy. Both grandfathers described to me Bracken’s reaction to the blessing afterward. They said he was very calm and alert and partway through the blessing his eyes locked on Grant’s face and after a while he looked away with a thoughtful expression as if musing over what his Father had blessed him with.
Many members of our extended family were able to join us in witnessing the blessing. It is a tradition in my mother’s family to attend each others’ baby blessings and baptisms and to get together afterwards. It was so special to have the family that was able to make it there.
I was reading an article by Susan Easton Black about this special ordinance and something she said struck me.
I have found it interesting that in the scriptures a new name is often involved when a covenant relationship is formed. When Adam and Eve were given dominion over the earth (see Gen. 1:28), Adam was given the responsibility of naming the animals (see Gen. 2:19–20). Likewise, in receiving Eve as his wife, Adam named her. (See Gen. 3:20.) God himself, after creating bodies for our first parents, “blessed them, and called their name Adam.” (Gen. 5:2.) Later, when Jehovah entered into a covenant relationship with Abram, he changed Abram’s name to Abraham. (See Gen. 17:5.) The Lord did the same thing with Jacob when He extended to Jacob the same covenant He had made with Abraham. (See Gen. 35:10.) We follow a similar pattern when entering into covenants with Christ in the waters of baptism. At that time, we take upon ourselves the name of Christ, and that becomes the name by which we are called. (See Mosiah 5:7–12.) The higher covenants of the temple also involve the giving and receiving of names. In each of these cases, the one giving the name assumes responsibility for protecting, loving, and nurturing the one receiving the new name. And the recipient of the name, in turn, is to honor the name-giver and follow his counsel.
I italicized this last point she makes. In the case of Bracken’s blessing, Grant, and by extension myself, gave Bracken his new name and so we assume responsibility for protecting, loving and nurturing him. Given the incredibly sweet spirit I can feel from my little guy, this is a great responsibility. I felt the weight of this responsibility settle onto my shoulders as he was put back into my arms after being blessed. He already has and will continue to bring our family much joy.
Post Post Script: The cute blessing outfit and shoes were made by my mother, Misti Atkinson, and the gorgeous blessing blanket was crocheted by my sister, KristiAnne Atkinson. They are very talented ladies.