I had conducted El and Dave’s wedding ceremony and their daughter, Maia’s naming ceremony when they called me to discuss their son, Riley’s, naming ceremony. They have been through some pretty serious challenges and my heart melted in their presence as they shared them with me – their courage and strength shining out.
Every day is so full as a parent – full of survival, service and surrender providing food, clothing, basic needs, and then the emotional needs of every member needs to be considered, and all the while… the heart and the sense of wellbeing, happiness and peace is calling…I have great compassion for those parents whose children don’t sleep, whose children are not well.
Back to Dave and El’s ceremony… they invited Ruth, El’s sister, and her husband Nigel, who had eight-month-old Tristan, if they wanted to share the day with them. They agreed, so the celebration became Riley and Tristan’s naming day. I interviewed both families and with their answers created one overall ceremony and then had two sections where it focused on Riley’s family and then Tristan’s family. It worked really well.
El’s brother, Tim, shared two readings from the Bible:
Proverbs 1:10-15 and 4:20-26
Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go, guard it well, for it is your life. May you always live it in your very own way.
My child, pay attention to what I say: listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight; keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a person’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.
Dave’s sister in law, Annie, read a beautiful children’s book, Ten Little Fingers, Ten Little Toes, by Mem Fox which had all the children enthralled… the adults looked really interested too!
Pete and Michael were named as the godparents for Riley, and Wendy and Sandy were Tristan’s godparents.
Pete got up and said a few words – in particular he clarified the ‘contract’ with El and Dave and I cannot remember the exact wording but there were four essential points two of which were .’and your son will have to be a Parramatta Eels supporter’, ‘if you win the lottery you must share it with your godfather’. The way he worded it was very funny and made everyone laugh. The ceremony was a blend of humour and deep gratitude, of blessing and affirmation and of course, one of celebration and honouring.
Congratulations to the Coulter and Johnson families for having such a beautiful celebration!
Young Riley Johnson!