Yes I am a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and yes I make the sign of the cross. Does this seem odd to some of our Lutheran brothers and sisters? Should it? Do you, as a member of the LCMS view certain practices of orthodox Christianity as Roman Catholic and therefore suggest they should be avoided? We as Lutherans, all of Christendom for that matter, should not be afraid to embrace certain practices that are associated with Roman Catholicism. In fact I believe that the move in the opposite direction of certain, supposedly, Roman Catholic practices has actually produced negative results. So why make the sign of the Cross? Making the sign of the Cross is in fact adiaphora (neither commanded nor forbidden in the Bible so left to Christian freedom and choice) but we should not treat these practices, when understood correctly, as something to be avoided.
In our hymnals, as we open the service with the invocation, we read in red letters that all can make the sign of the Cross in remembrance of their Baptism. What happened to baptized Christians at the font should not only be something that is desired but also one that is lived in and remembered. As Colossians 2:11-12 reveals to us, baptism is the fulfillment of circumcision, which to the Israelites was a covenant promise between God and the people of Israel. This covenant was made on God's part not of man's and the same is true in baptism. Man did not invent this institution but rather it was given to the Church by Christ. A profound reality exists in the waters of Baptism which should be remembered and celebrated and this “washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” can be brought back into the mind of all those who have received this life giving flood by making the sign of the Cross.
We need to realize as well that we are not only remembering what took place in our Baptism but by who it was taken place through. By making the sign of the cross we are confessing who we are gathering together to be fed spiritual food by. The Trinity is being confessed when we say “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” and they all certainly play unique roles in our coming to faith. God the Father has created us and by his gracious will and mercy uses the Church to proclaim the message of Christ where the Holy Spirit is present to bring us to faith. Jesus is the foundation of this proclamation and gives us this washing to renew us steadfast in the faith. The Apostle Peter confesses “baptism now saves you”, not just a past act that occurred in time, but an on going reception of salvation so it is only proper that we remember and confess it.
Again it is in our Christian freedom to make or not make the sign of the Cross but I say do or do not for the appropriate reasons. Don't do it if it is out of self centered Christian piety (in which case learn the theological reason behind it, which only enriches the experience) and don't avoid it because its Roman Catholic. Luther himself implores us to make the sign of the cross, not that Luther is the rule over Christ but it is testimony that this tradition exists outside of Rome. In the Small Catechism, evening and morning prayers, Luther writes "In the morning when you get up, make the sign of the holy cross and say:In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen