Making the Sign of the Cross
You’re a Lutheran and you make the sign of the cross? Yes! Making the sign of the cross does not belong to one denomination or another. When it is understood and taught properly, it is a good, right, and salutary practice of the holy Christian (catholic) and apostolic church.
Making the sign of the cross is directly related to God’s gift of Holy Baptism, where we die and rise with Christ in the water and the word (Romans 6). During the rite of Holy Baptism, the pastor proclaims over the candidate for baptism, “Receive the sign of the cross both upon your forehead and upon your heart, to mark you as one redeemed by Christ the Crucified.” As the pastor says these words he also traces the sign of the cross upon the baptismal candidate. So, Lutherans are free to make the sign of the cross in remembrance of their Baptism.
In his Small Catechism, Martin Luther instructs Christians to make the sign of the cross every morning and evening as they pray and commend themselves to God for the day and night. There are also many times during the church service when it is appropriate to make the sign of the cross, such as during the Invocation at the beginning, and the Benediction at the end of the Divine Service.
Whenever, and wherever Christians make the sign of the cross, it is not done out of coercion, but freedom and confession of our Baptism and the saving work Jesus has accomplished for us on the cross.