We are dedicating Caleb at church this weekend. Baby dedication weekend has always been one of my favorite services but this time it has a different feel, we have some skin in the game! It is taking on a much more solemn tone, in thinking about the covenant we will stand and make before our families, our church, and our God. These are the promises we will make and hope to keep to the best of our limited human ability, by God’s grace and with God’s help:
Parental Promises at Child Dedication
- Do you recognize these children as the gifts of God and give heartfelt thanks for God’s blessing?
- Do you now dedicate your children to the Lord who gave them to you, surrendering all worldly claims upon their lives in the hope that they will belong wholly to Jesus Christ?
- Do you pledge as parents that, with God’s fatherly help, you will bring up your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, making every reasonable effort, with patience and love, to build the Word of God, the character of Christ and the joy of the Lord into their lives?
- Do you promise to provide, through God’s blessing, for the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs of your children, looking to your own heavenly Father for the wisdom, love and strength to serve them and not use them?
- Do you promise, God helping you, to make it your regular prayer that by God’s grace your children will come to trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins and for the fulfillment of all his promises to them, even eternal life; and in this faith follow Jesus as Lord and obey his teachings?
Following our promises, these will be the words of dedication prayed over Caleb:
“Caleb, together with your parents who love you dearly, and this people who care about the outcome of your faith, I dedicate you to God, surrendering together with them all worldly claim upon your life in the hope that you will belong wholly to Jesus Christ,forever.”
I can’t read these words without tearing up. They are weighty promises and heartfelt prayers. They are hard to stand by, hard to live by, hard to carry out. They are impossible to do in our own strength or by sheer determination. I don’t think I had a clue until about 8 months ago what parenting really means or the weight it fully carries. I’m not sure you can, until you hold your own in your arms for the first time. And then it hits you like a ton of bricks—That you have been entrusted with a life, and more than that a soul, and that for the next however many years of life this little one will look to you primarily (and often solely) for leadership, guidance, provision, and teaching about this world around them and the next to come. This parenting responsibility has already been a continued lesson in grace that I’m sure has only begun…It is with fear and trembling that we look to our own Heavenly Father for the wisdom, strength, help and grace needed to model to Caleb what life is really about and to whom he should ultimately look to and depend on.
These lyrics come to mind as I write, “In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light my strength my song, this Cornerstone, this solid ground, strong through the fiercest drought and storm…No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me. From life’s first cry to final breath Jesus commands my destiny.”