Wednesday, June 1

Baby Dedication?

This past Sunday, May 29, Blaine and I dedicated Brock at church. Since we are Baptists, we don't christen or baptize babies and the ceremony is on a much smaller scale and much less elaborate than other denominations may do it. In fact, I don't even know that I would call it a "ceremony" in our church because it basically just consisted of us walking on stage with several other families, announcing the baby's name, birthdate, and birth stats, and then the pastor praying for all of the families. It has always seemed to me to be a sweet little ritual that we do in the Baptist church and nothing that really holds any significant meaning or consequences for the baby since it isn't a salvation experience. Funny how so many things change after you have your own baby...

Our church, Brainerd Hills Baptist, offers the opportunity for baby dedication every fifth Sunday of the months that have one. Since there were five Sundays in May and Brock had been going to church for a few weeks now with no problems, I asked Blaine if I should sign us up for this month's baby dedication. Blaine, being of the same kind of mindset I described in the first paragraph and not a big fan of being the center of attention, was hesitant. Not that he was opposed to dedicating Brock, he just wasn't too enthused about the idea of doing it publicly and potentially forgetting, in front of everyone, important information like the baby's birth weight and looking like the worst father ever. After discussing it further though, we both decided it was something we should participate in. Reading through the Bible, there are so many examples of families dedicating their children to the Lord, committing to raise them according to God's laws and word. After searching it out for ourselves, this was an important public commitment that we wanted to make for our family as well.

Because we didn't want it to be just some event that we signed up for at church and didn't think too much about, we decided it would make it more meaningful to us to read a relevant passage of Scripture and pray over Brock before we left for church that Sunday morning. We read Psalm 139 because it talks about how God creates each of us and how he thinks of us:
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night," even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain! Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
I read this passage several times when I was pregnant with Brock. I also read it to console myself earlier last year when I had had a miscarriage. The thought that God knits together the intricacies of a human life inside a mother's womb and knows everything there is to know about that life, even the number of days it will live, is an awe-inspiring thought and a tremendous comfort to me. I thank God for the baby he took from us, and I thank him for the baby he allowed us to have. Like Hannah, I am able to say, "For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him" (1 Sam 1:27). With the understanding that Brock is a gift from God, Blaine and I want to raise him with a knowledge of who God is. We want him to one day desire the Lord for himself, not because we forced him to go to church or made him read his Bible front to back or memorize the Ten Commandments, but rather we want him to desire the Lord because the Lord is good and worth desiring.

So what does "baby dedication" mean to us? Psalm 78:5-8 says, "[God] established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God." In dedicating Brock to God, we are saying that as parents we commit to teach Brock what it means to set his hope in God, to remain faithful to God. We want to model to our son morality, wisdom, goodness, self-control, love, and godliness. We do not want to be self-righteous or judgmental, legalistic or overzealous. We will be imperfect models and we will mess up more often than we succeed, I am sure, but my hope is that the overarching theme of our parenting will present to Brock and to all of our future children a glimpse of who God is and how he loves us. It is my prayer that Brock will grow up to be a godly, honorable, and good man who recognizes his sinfulness and decides for himself that he needs Christ to save him from that sin. I hope that he will one day pass on this knowledge to his own children and that our children's children's children will have had the opportunity to know the Lord.

Moses commanded the Israelites: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." (Deut 6:4-7) This, in essence, is what Blaine and I are committing to with the dedication of our firstborn son. May God help us in our endeavor.

1 comment:

  1. Love your post, and I am so encouraged by how you sincerely are daily committing Brock, not through an event, but from your hearts.!