Over and over again, I hear from colleagues who find it difficult to use prescribed baptismal liturgies. In my own denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnal was published in the 21st century (2006). But the liturgical rite for Holy Baptism still prescribes the use of questions which contain images that harken back to medieval times. We have long since given up teaching our members to personify evil in the form of the devil. But the authors of our new liturgical texts insist that we continue to ask parents and sponsors to “renounce the devil an all the forces that defy God”; locking participants into some sort of cosmic battle in hich both evil and indeed God are personified in ways that most 21st century folks find archaic. As a confessional church, creeds continue to include proclamations of a virgin birth; an obstacle that seems laughable to people who have had the benefit of New Testament scholarship. Clergy who preside at baptisms are expected to hold our noses, while participants suspend reality and still the church continues to bemoan the fact that few and few parents bring their children to our fonts. In an effort to work with parents and sponsors to create baptismal rites that allow for the possibility that the Spirit is alive and well and working in, with, through, and beyond our feeble attempts to celebrate the miracle of new life, I have over the years tinkered with the rite of baptism. We have for several years now celebrated the rite of baptism using the liturgy which is provided here as an inspiration for others to tinker with the rite.
click here for a pdf of our 21st Century Baptismal Liturgy