“I’d like you to baptize my baby,” she said, on the other end of the phone.
“I’d be glad to,” I replied.
“What’s involved?” she asked
“Well, I’d like to meet with you and we can talk about that. When can you meet?” I asked
“How’s Sunday at 1:00?” she said.
“How about you come to church and see what we’re all about then we’ll meet in my office after worship,” I suggested.
“Ummmm...no, I don’t think so,” she responded. “How about you come to my place at 1:00.”
“Umm...Okay,” I responded.
I arrived at her house armed with a hymnal marked to the baptism service, as well as a copy of Baptized We Live, a sort of comic book version of what we believe as Lutherans.
“So, why a baptism?” I asked her.
I ask this question every time I meet with a family who presents their child for baptism, not to jam parents into a corner, and I’m NOT looking for a “correct” answer. But because I’m genuinely interested in what parents believe about baptism.
“Well, I got done, my parents got done, and I should have my baby done,” she said. Her answer was pretty typical from what I get from parents. At least she was honest.
I opened the hymnal and turned to the liturgy for Holy Baptism, and I pointed out the section where she would be making some pretty heavy duty promises on behalf of her child:
“As you bring your child to receive the gift of baptism, you are entrusted with responsibilities:
to live with her among God’s faithful people,
bring her to the Word of God and the Holy Supper
teach her the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments,
place in her hands the holy scriptures,
nurture her in faith and prayer,
so that your child may learn to trust God,
proclaim Christ through word and deed,
care for others and the world God made,
and work for justice and peace.
Do you promise to help your child grow in the Christian faith and life?”
I couldn’t get through the rest of my spiel because she immediately burst out crying.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I don’t want to do any of that,” she said.
“I don’t understand, what’s your concern?” I asked.
“I don’t want to...(whole thing here)