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Baptism as the Model for a Sacramental Aesthetic

Louis Weil


When Christians of different traditions talk about what they share in faith and practice, at the top of the list would be the universal sacrament of baptism in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In the light of this, there has emerged a growing imperative that the various churches affirm the mutual recognition of baptism on the basis of the shared belief that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Given its foundational significance, why is it that baptismal practice seems often to trivialize this fundamental rite of Christian incorporation? In the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, the rite for Holy Baptism embodies a recovered sense of the significant role which baptism plays in the Christian life. But if in our common pastoral practice that significance is undermined, our sense of the magnitude of this sacramental act will be undermined as well.

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