This is my final post for now in the series: Baptism ABCs. E is for engagement which centers on the promises the parents, sponsors and congregation make during an infant baptism. They promise to engage the child in faithful behaviors so that the child will come to understand his or her identity as a child of God. As wonderful as the Baptismal promises are, they are of little value unless the baptized child grows to understand and embrace them.
At baptism the parents promise to bring the child to worship, to place in their hands the holy scriptures and to provide for their instructions in the Christian faith. The parents and child need the community of faith to assist in this maturing process. Part of that maturing process in the Lutheran church is confirmation where a child is instructed in the basics of the faith: Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer as well as the overarching story of God’s love recorded in the Bible.
At the end of confirmation instruction, the child stands before the congregation and declares her own trust in God. It is no longer the faith of her parents and sponsors but her own personal faith. She affirms the promises of baptism as her own.
My grandson Jack’s recent baptism sparked my series of baptismal reflections. Though Jack’s father (my son) was raised in the Lutheran church and baptized as an infant, Jack’s mother was raised in the Pentecostal tradition and was baptized in her later childhood. I sometimes wonder if at Jack’s confirmation Jack might benefit from the opportunity to remember his baptism in a special way.
I wonder if a large baptism tank or a lake outdoors might be used so that he could be fully immersed into the water and rise up into newness of life (see Baptism ABC: D is for dying). I would not believe this to be a re-baptism, but rather as remembering his baptism in a direct experiential way. The promises of his infant baptism would remain but his memory of them would be reinforced. As I think more about it, I wonder if I might not join Jack in such a watery remembrance.
For now, as a grandpa or papa, my task is clear: to help Jon and Maggie engage Jack with the love, joy and peace of God. What an honor that is!
In what ways do you remember or affirm your baptism?
Lord Jesus, keep me engaged in faithful practices and vibrant life.