Baptism comes from a Greek word which means “immersion” or “washing in water”. Christian baptism is a once-in-a-lifetime washing that frees us from our self-justifying impulses, self-love run amuck, trusting what is not worthy of trust – all that the Christian faith calls “sin.” Every human (children too) needs God’s forgiving and liberating power.
Martin Luther saw baptism as the sacrament “through which we are first received into the Christian community.” In the Lutheran Church, we baptize children as well as adults because we recognize the need to surround a child with love and promises – God’s, the faith community’s and the parent’s. We also recognize a child is much more than “mine” or “ours”. He or she is God’s creation; God’s child. That’s why parents are not enough. A child needs to belong to a community, a people of faith who share a history, a way of life, and a hope for the future. We want a child to be raised as a Christian – living the abundant life of dwelling in Christ.
Baptism itself is a rather short event. During a service of worship, your child will experience the water ritual of cleansing, death, and resurrection, new birth and the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Your child’s TOTAL baptism experience will include a lifetime of learning the Christian faith and the Christian way of life. You and the sponsor(s) will promise to raise your child in the Christian faith and the Christian community. Your promise will be a response to the gospel (God’s promise always precedes our promises). From the Lutheran Rite of Baptism, your promises are to…
1) bring your child to the services of God’ house (i.e. bring them to church).
2) teach your child the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments.
3) place in your child’s hands the Holy Scriptures.
4) provide for your child’s instruction in the Christian faith (i.e. bring them to Sunday school, confirmation, etc.)
This, of course, is a very brief summary of what baptism is about. It should be stressed that baptism means becoming part of a community. If you feel called to baptism (for yourself and/or your child) you are encouraged to attend worship (children are always welcome in worship) (our worship times are 5:00 Saturday and 9:45 Sunday morning), see how we are a people of God in this place, and experience the community which you and your child will be part of.
(The bulk of the information above comes from a short book “Let the Children Come” by Daniel Erlander. (These are excerpts from the book with some editing.) If you would like a copy of the book to read, please contact Pastor O'Brien. He will also be glad to answer any questions you may still have about Lutheran baptism after you have had a chance to process this information.)
You can download a Baptism Information Form here.