"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.' When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there." ~Matthew 19:14-15
We didn't dedicate her because we have to. This dedication isn't a saving act neither is it a Biblical command. Instead it is something we have chosen to do as parents. The ceremony is actually more for us, the parents. We dedicate ourselves to raising Hannah in the way of the Lord. We acknowledge that while she is our daughter, she isn't ours. She is God's child and He has entrusted her to us for a time. Even more so we acknowledge God's right to deal with her according to His sovereign and loving plan.
That is the part that is scary and hard for me as a parent. I easily and excitidly proclaim my desire to raise her in the church. But acknowledging that I give God complete control over my baby girl. That's hard. I want to believe that I can protect her and keep all harm from her. I want to control her future. But the truth is I can't. And that scares me.
Thankfully God's love for her is immensely greater than mine. He will love her and protect her in His perfect wisdom. And that is a truth I cling to.
For the actual ceremony our family and the pastor went on the stage in front of the congregation. Joe and I took the following vow:
Believing that this child is a gift from God, and that He will hold you accountable for this child, do you publicly confess that it is your purpose to dedicate her to the Lord and to His service? Will you pray with her and for her, instruct her faithfully in the doctrines of the Christian faith, teach her to read the Word of God, to pray, and to lead a holy life? Will you teach this child to fellowship regularly with God's people and do all that lies within you to bring her to a personal knowledge of Jesus as Savior and Lord? If so say, "We will."
Then the congregation repeated their vow:
Because God has brought us together as a local community of faith, and because we take seriously our calling to live the shared life, we join our hearts today in support of these parents and their child. Lord, may we be faithful to love, pray for, encourage, instruct, and nurture this family. May we model what it means to be authentic and faithful followers of Jesus, and may we do all we can to lead parents and children alike to a personal knowledge of Jesus as their Lord and Savior. AMEN.