I Remember Now ~ A New Kind Of Baptism ~ Pastor Tim Tengblad Post 36

I recently wrote and led a baptism for our friend’s child.  The baptism was held in their beautiful backyard.

A traditional Baptism service of the Christian Church implies:

  1. There is something wrong with the one being baptized. They are a sinner.
  2. They need to be fixed by baptism so they can become a forgiven and accepted child of God. They need to obtain eternal salvation through the administering of water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I have officiated at hundreds of baptisms over my 35 years as a Lutheran Pastor. While they were often a lovely time of families coming together in love, it always seemed so transactional. “OK. Now we did it. Our child is now OK.”

As with many things that happen within the Church, here were good, well meaning parents and families doing what they had been told to do for the benefit of a child they dearly loved. And God can use such a well intended act to speak to people. I witnessed it many times.

However, over the years an increasing number of questions arose for me:

  1. If the child is baptized at a 9:00 service, what is the child at 8:45? NOT a child of God? That makes no sense. Were they not created by/from the same Source no matter what?
  2. How could a loving God require baptism to determine if the child is acceptable and loved?
  3. What if there never was a baptism? Would a loving God not allow the baby into heaven if water had not been poured over them, or they received no baptism certificate?

The answers to these questions seemed more and more obvious to me as time went on.

I often saw the fear that the Church created within it’s own people regarding baptism. One example was dear, sweet Irene. Irene had a life long love for her Church and her faith. When she was dying, she called me in a panic because she could not find her baptism certificate, and wasn’t even sure if she had been baptized. She wanted me to baptize her “just to make sure.” After I baptized her, she said she could now face her death in peace.

I recently wrote the following baptism service with two intentions:

  1. To celebrate what the one to be baptized already IS in their essence.
  2. To provide an opportunity for those who love the child to come together and commit themselves to nurture what the child already IS at their core.

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The Baptism of (Name)

ALL        

(Child’s name), we come together as family to celebrate the gift you are to us. 

From your first breath you brought peace to our world. 

You have come to bless our lives with your light and love.                          

Leader

You have come from the Divine. The Great Love. 

Your essence is Love.  We see it in your pure presence. You remind us of our own essence.

ALL       

We see it in your eyes. 

Leader 

Love knows many expressions. Love expresses itself in creativity. 

ALL  

You have come into this world to create out of the abundance and beauty of your gifts.  We promise to encourage and support you.

Leader     

When you desire to help someone, it is the Divine within you. 

When you are patient, it is the Divine within you. 

When you are kind, it is the Divine within you.

When you are compassionate, it is the Divine within you.

When you are curious, it is the Divine within you.

When you want to learn, grow and evolve, it is the Divine within you.

Leader

(Child’s name), you also have come into this world to be human.

ALL

(Child’s name), we are here to support you in the challenges and joys of being human, knowing it is all for your growth.

Mother

(Child’s name), your Mothering God and I gave birth to you.

 Your soul embodied mine. 

 You chose me as your earthly Mother and there is a certain Oneness that only you and I share.

Together we reflect your inherent Oneness with the Divine. 

 (Child’s name), I baptize you in the name of Mother God.

Father

(Child’s name), I embody your Heavenly Father’s Love for you.

You chose me as your earthly father. 

I know a Oneness with you deep in my soul.

Together we reflect your inherent Oneness with the Divine. 

(Child’s name), I baptize you in the name of our Heavenly Father.

Leader

(Child’s name), you too are a (son/daughter) of God. 

I baptize you in the name of Jesus, who lived and taught the Love that you are.

(Child’s name), the spirit of Love that flows within all that is, flows within you.  

I baptize you in the name of the Holy Spirit, who breathed life into you.

ALL

You are the song and God is the breath!*  

ALL   

(Child’s name), we are committed to creating a world for you

in which your unique purpose, unlimited gifts and potential can flourish.

The Blessing

ALL   

(Child’s name), we are all walking each other HOME.** 

We promise to walk with you in faith, hope and love,

knowing that the greatest of these is Love.   Amen

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*Steve Garnass-Holmes

**Ram Dass

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Baptism is not a requirement by a judgmental God. It should be done in love, and not fear. We can baptize to celebrate and renew our commitment to the one we love. Nor does it have to be performed by clergy. No diploma holds any special magic. That’s why I invited the mother and father to baptize their child.

I hope this service of baptism will help you remember your own Truth.

Pastor Tim Tengblad

timtengblad@comcast.net           I welcome your comments, questions, and stories