Why Baptize?

Sunday was Pentecost (among other things like Mother's Day and birthday and what not) and I attended the early service being held in our village in Sweden. I was too lazy to drive anywhere, WiseMan dropped me off and drove off to scrounge for fresh rolls and newspapers.

As I walked up the church walkway I saw the place was going to be packed - and so I knew right away that this would be a baptism. I had seen this before, but as I came in at least they were all sitting down in the pews. One I had attended previously the baptismal party waited outside the church until we got to the "juicy" part.

But they were laughing and talking, just having a good time, when normally one is quiet and collects one's thoughts before the service begins. The dozen people who normally attend the church all sat together on one side of the church, back a bit near the loud speakers. We be old.

The service began, and we were to sing the first song - but only the regulars sang. No one from the baptism party even bothered to open their hymnals. We kept on going, hit a song that one stands for - only the dozen stood, the party remained seated. I looked over at them questioningly, but they were not looking at us.

We sat down, some readings started, and then the Gospel was to be read. In Lutheran churches you stand for the Gospel, and the dozen did, the rest remained seated. This finally got the goat of the preacher, who pointedly said to the group: We stand for the Gospel. They grudgingly got up.

The preacher keep the sermon boring, short, and sweet. I would have probably pontificated on "Why bother baptizing?" or "How to behave in Church" at this point, but apparently the preacher wanted to get it over with. He then began the baptism portion of the service, and the party sprang to digital life - video and still cameras were whipped out, the beaming parents came to the front with the godparents, and the baptism began.

The little girl was very well behaved, put up with all the motions and let herself be carried around the church and shown to everyone. She was given a candle, then everyone sat down and we carried on. The preacher noted that the next hymn should be one that everyone knew, but no, only the dozen sang. We stood up for the benediction, again the preacher made the others stand up, and then with a nice organ piece the service was over.

I lingered to speak with Mai-Britt, and noted that I really didn't understand why they bother baptizing their babies and didn't she think it scandalous the way they behaved. Mai-Britt was a missionary for many years, and she answered - we're glad that something brings them to church, and it is not the baby's fault she has parents and family who do not know how to behave. The main thing is that she is now baptized.

So I suppose I should just hold off the lemons, but I am genuinely confused: why on earth do they want a church baptism, if they themselves have nothing to do with the church!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Next time bring a present. Maybe "The God delusion" by Richard Dawkins? Chapter 9 should be appropriate: "Childhood, abuse and the escape from religion". Or just don't walk into churches.

Baptism is not only ridiculous but dangerous. People should make their own choice, when they have grown up. Newborns are also not signed up for the "CDU" or for a subscription of "Emma". But I guess there would be less people worshiping a personal god in a church, when chidren were not indoctrinated in early years... Bad for churches. My 0.02$