Liturgy & Baptism

I’m writing a baptism liturgy (to be referred to as “Order of Worship” from now on in this post so my Evangelical friends don’t get too freaked out) for my church for Sacraments & Worship from a Historical Perspective (to be referred to as merely Sacraments & Worship from now on). It was one of three projects I could pick. Not only did it have the most room for creativity, but it also seemed like the easiest of the three options.

I might have been wrong.

It’s been more difficult than I thought to come up with a meaningful Order for a contemporary setting. It’s really made me think about what should be included in a baptism service and what is essential for a baptism service. How much of the historical practices (anointing with oil, eating salt, spitting on Satan, etc.) should be included in a postmodern context and still contain a powerful message in its symbolism? Maybe I’m thinking about it too much, but that’s kind of who I am – right? Since it’s worth 25% of our grade, I guess the point is that I’m supposed to be thinking about it a lot.

So, I ask this question to you, O Reader of MattDanTodd Land – if you were to plan an Order of Worship for a baptism service, what would you include? What wouldn’t you include?

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Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"

6 Replies to “Liturgy & Baptism”

  1. Okay, I couldn’t find the scripture in the KJV (the only Bible Josh has lying around the house” but it’s where Paul writes “What shall we do, then? Shall we go on sinning as before? Of course not!” and then talks about being a new creature in Christ. I thought it was in Romans, but the KJV is so weird, I couldn’t find it.
    This was always read before my campus minsitry baptisms and Georgia Tech used to yell out “HELL NO” when they were asked “Shall we go on sinning as before?” I always admired their fire and determination to not go on sinning and LOVED that response.

    Although I’m not sure of the appropriate attire for baptism, I always hated to see people get baptized in old clothes. It just seems weird to make that big of a commitment in old gym shorts…

    1. Interesting…I’ll see what I cna do.

      I like the ancient idea of clothing the newly baptized in a new linen robe. I agree with you about using old gym shorts. There’s something lost in the symbolism. Of course, you could always do what they did in the early church and do it naked – but you already knew that because I just told Joanie the same thing in the post above yours…

    2. Clothing

      I think that you should dunk the person in old grungy clothes and then, while they are under water, they should quickly change into a bright white robe before they come back up out of the water..

      To me, baptism is an outward expression and public declearation to an internal change. I see the act of being baptized as a symbol of a change that has already/previously occured within a person–so, the clothing that a person wears shouldn’t matter at all. The life-changing commitment has already been made. For some reason, I do see the naked idea as an interesting symbol of rebirth..

      Also, about what i would include… I think that it is hugely important that people express their commitment verbally before being baptized.. I don’t even really like it when the Baptizer does all of the talking and the person just has to agree–“Yes” or whatever. The public declaration piece seems so much more powerful when people step out of their comfort zones and at least verbally declare the Lord as Savior.. maybe a 5 minute testimony and confession of past sin is not necessary…but at least, “I’m here to be baptized because I want to declare that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and I will follow him all of the days of my life.”

      Also, I like when baptism is presented as an act of “obedience” to the commands of Jesus. Recently, I asked a girl from church (11 years old..) why she wanted to be baptized and she said, “Because you said that Jesus told us to be baptized.” I thought this was pretty profound.

      Liz

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