Nondenominational Christian Baptism Ceremony
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the presence of God and in the company of these friends to christen and baptize this child, _____________________ (full name). Jesus Christ once said that we must be born anew of water. He told us that we should strive to become like the little children of the earth. In Mark Chapter ten, verse thirteen, we read the story of Jesus’s disciples rebuking the children who came to touch him. “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for such is the Kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter herein.” And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
Why does God love the children? What are the qualities that they have that we, as adults, should strive to preserve? First and foremost, children know how to speak the truth. Babies and very young children have not learned how to be deceitful. The Bible tells us that the truth shall set us free, and the natural honesty of our newborn children can be an inspiration to all of us.
Younger folk see everything with fresh eyes. We adults think we have come to know the world. We are too busy to really look at what is around us. Children, not yet burdened with work and worldly concerns, are curious about everything. They are fascinated by God’s creation. When we become as children, we see once again the miraculous beauty of everything around us.
Finally, nobody can teach us about love in quite the same way as a child. All of us have some barriers to love. We wonder about the ulterior motives of those who would offer us their love. But Jesus said that nobody was ever hurt by too much love. He told us that loving God and loving our neighbors were the two greatest commandments we could follow. Children can show us a pure, innocent, trusting kind of love that is very hard for adults to offer one another.
Next to a child, we are strong and knowledgeable. We have much to teach our children. But our pride and strength must never blind us to the lessons that they can teach us as well. Let learning be a two-way street, and both parent and child will grow in wisdom.
As it says in The Prophet, “Your children are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not to you. You may give them your love and your thoughts, but remember that they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies, but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, in their innocence, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward, nor lingers with yesterday. You are the bows, from which your children, as living arrows, are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and he bends you with his might that his arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness, for even as he loves the arrow that flies, so he loves the bow that is stable.”
Let us pray. Almighty God, we call upon Thee for this child, that s/he, coming to thy Holy Baptism, may receive spiritual regeneration. Receive her/him, O Lord, as thou hast promised by thy well-beloved Son, saying, Ask, and you shall receive; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. So now, let us who seek, find, that this child may enjoy the everlasting benediction of thy heavenly wasing, and may come to the eternal kingdom which thou has promised, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
____________ and ___________, the parents of this child have asked you to step forward and be the godparents of this child. By consenting to be godparents, you are acknowledging your love for these parents as well as for this child. You are making a commitment that this child shall never be unloved in this world. Do you accept your role as the godparents of this child? (If godparents want to share any personal remarks at this time, they may do so.)
_____________ (child’s name), in the years to come, life will bring you many joys and many disappointments. But since we are welcoming you into the family of the human community, our promise to you is that you will not have to bear life’s tribulations alone. Ask for our help, and you shall receive it. Ask for our love, and you shall have it. Ask to be heard, and we shall listen. (At this time, the parents may want to share their thoughts with the congregation assembled).
Let us pray.
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For think is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Lord, sanctify this water, and grant that this child may receive the fullness of thy grace. ______________, I baptize (christen) thee in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Here are some words that can be added for a baptism with an adult.
Hear the words of Jesus:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)
Covenant for the Baptism of Older Children or Adults [This covenant statement may also be adapted for the baptism of infants. The first sentence would then read, “Since you have presented these children for baptism, we ask you, before God . . . .”]
Since you have responded by God’s grace
to the call of the gospel to believe and be baptized,
we ask you, before God and his people,
to profess your faith in Jesus Christ.
Do you turn to Jesus Christ?
Do you intend to be Christ’s faithful disciple,
trusting his promises,
obeying his word,
honoring his church,
and showing his love,
as long as you live?