Sermon Illustrations

Order of the Bath

"The Most Honorable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. However, the origin of the Order is said to be medieval, the earliest mention being in 1128. The name derives from the ancient ceremony wherein individuals participated in a vigil of fasting, prayer, and bathing on the day before being knighted (the ceremony was discontinued in 1815).

The Order’s motto is Tria iuncta in uno (Latin for "Three joined in one"), a reference to either the union of England, Scotland and Ireland, or to the Holy Trinity... Another motto, Ich dien (older German for "I serve") is sometimes used, but only by members of the Order who serve in the military.

In the Middle Ages knighthood was often conferred with elaborate ceremonies. At this inauguration of a knight of Bath was a ritual bathing and giving up of old clothes for new that symbolized purity and a commitment to put the past behind for the challenge of the future. As a knight of Bath one was called to live a life of service, sacrifice in reverence to God and a purity of heart.

"These usually involved the knight-to-be taking a bath (possibly symbolic of spiritual purification) during which he was instructed in the duties of knighthood by more senior knights. He was then put to bed in order to dry. Clothed in a special robe, he was led with music to the chapel where he spent the night in a vigil. At dawn he made confession and attended Mass, then retired to his bed to sleep until it was fully daylight. He was then brought before the King, who after instructing two senior knights to buckle the spurs to the knight-elect’s heels, fastened a belt around his waist, then struck him on the neck (with either a hand or a sword), thus making him a knight It was this "accolade" which was the essential act in creating a knight, and a simpler ceremony developed, conferring knighthood merely by striking or touching the knight-to-be on the shoulder with a sword, or "dubbing" him, as is still done today. "

"The call to knighthood included a vow of allegiance and a call to holiness: "Brother, the king our Sovereign lord wills it that you take up this high and worshipful order, which as a knight I declare to you certain points that belong to this high order of knighthood. You shall love God above all things, be steadfast in faith, sustain the church, and be true to your sovereign lord. Be true to your word and promises, be secure in this. Also you shall sustain widows in their rights, anytime they require you, maidens in their virginity, helping them and succoring them in your good that they not be misgoverned for their own faults. You shall sit in no place where an evil judgment should be wrongfully given, to anybody, according to your knowledge. You shall suffer no murderers, nor extortions of the people within the Country where you dwell, but with your power you shall put them into the hands of justice, that they be punished as the king’s law requires."

All factual data about the Knights of Bath come from

[ ] and edited and annotated by Kinserdahl