Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”
And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:61–2)
Our family has been traveling throughout the U.S. since early June on Home Service. During this time, we have had the privilege of visiting many different churches. This past Sunday, I was able to take my sons to Redeemer Lutheran Church, Oakmont, PA, where we witnessed the baptism of a baby. In Leipzig recently, we’ve witnessed the baptisms of both adults and babies. Whether the service takes place in German or in English, it is familiar.
Yet, this past Sunday, the section of questions and answers really struck me. Not because of what they ask, but because of how we view this process. When a baby is baptized, he or she cannot speak the words, so the congregation, godparents, and parents speak the words for the baby. Yet, it is the infant’s own confession! It’s not that the parents, congregation, and godparents answer for the baby, in the sense that they say it, and LATER the baby believes it. It is that the baby confesses without words, and we speak the words on her behalf.
Do you renounce the devil?
Yes I renounce him.
Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty…
Yes I believe.
A creedal confession out of the mouth of babes through the mouths of those in the family of God who carry this child along. The same confession made by the early church and the whole church throughout time and eternity. The same confession made by the princes who presented the Augsburg Confession before The Holy Roman Emperor on June 25, 1530.
We too, in reality, make this confession not of our own will, not because we have reached an age of reason, not because we have come to it of our own accord, but because we have been brought into it, carried along by Christ and the whole church on earth and in heaven. We make the confession, the good confession, because Christ, the true Witness, the true Confessor of the Faith, made it first and makes it again and again in and through us: adults, children and infants alike. As we speak the words of the Creeds, as we confess Christ crucified and risen, the Crucified Lord who is the Faithful Witness speaks it through us, because the confession, the faith, is His.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus Christ, we give thanks and praise to You, the true Confessor of the Faith; we thank and praise You also for all those who have gone before us to confess Your name, including the signers and presenters of the Augsburg Confession of 1530. Grant that we, like them, may continually confess You before men and kings with the words we have been given, with the words handed down throughout all generations of Your Church. We pray this in Your name, for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.