One of the great privileges of being a pastor is that I share in some of the most sacred times in a family’s life. Often, that looks like proclaiming the hope of the resurrection as we celebrate the life of a loved one who has passed away. It is always a joyful occasion to preside over a wedding ceremony for a husband and wife that have deep ties to our church community. I never really forget the excitement of a grandparent as they watch, with grateful hearts, as their grandchildren go through the waters of baptism. But of the things I do in the church, one of my favorite times is when we dedicate children to the glory of God.
This moment has a special place in my heart, I think in part because I have dedicated my own children over the past few years. It is, and I don’t think it is too strong a word, an awesome responsibility for us as a church to speak the words of dedication over a child. In that moment, we as a church are making a promise to God and to each young boy and girl. No matter where they come from or how they arrived in our shared life together, in that moment we proclaim that each of them is created in the image of God! More than that, we are publicly stating that we will help parents raise and nurture their children in the Way of Jesus Christ. When we say the words of dedication we are acknowledging that we share in the responsibility to embody grace and truth to the children in our church. We need each other as we seek to be better followers of Jesus and Dedication Sunday is about as close as we come to saying in our worship that we can never do this our own.
This week, I am praying for the mothers, fathers, and grandparents that will be dedicating their children this week. I pray for these children, that they will look back in ten or twenty years and see we have upheld the promises we made to them this Sunday morning. I also pray that our church will not just teach our children about Jesus with our words, but more than that, we will embody the way of Jesus with our lives.
Grace and Peace, Will