Dedication, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014

“People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. 16 But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 17 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” – Luke 18:15-17

“Baby dedications give all of us an opportunity to make a commitment to collectively raise a child in faith. Parents make a commitment to prioritize discipleship and to lead by example. Extended family and friends will commit to raise the child with an awareness of God’s abiding presence in their lives. We ask the congregation if they will help the child to discover her God-given gifts and, in turn, use those gifts to bring light into the world. We ask the children in the congregation if they will offer friendship and companionship along the way. Collectively, we all gather together around the child with arms extended. We commit, on behalf of the Universal Church, to embody the love of Jesus through each chapter ahead and we do so with gratitude for the trust instilled.” – Rev. Sterling Severns

Daddy and Mommy at church, while everyone at church prayed for you.

Daddy and Mommy at church, while everyone at church prayed for you.

In some Christian traditions, people believe babies are baptized to actually wash off the original sin with which they were born. In other Christian traditions, babies are baptized to symbolically represent the removal of sin. And other Christians believe babies are baptized to welcome them into the Universal Church.

Mommy and daddy believe that you should be baptized when you make the choice to be baptized. Your baptism is a choice that only you can make. As Robert Hunter wrote, “that path is for your steps alone.” Or in the words of Walt Whitman, “not I, not any one else can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself.”

Daddy believes you were born innocent and sinless. I believe, right now, as I write this, and you’re upstairs asleep in your bed, at eight months old, you remain innocent and without sin.

I believe the words of Jesus, when he says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” Jesus accepts you just as you are, unbaptized. Jesus says the Kingdom of God belongs to you.

Like all of us, you contain the breath and spirit and fire of the One who created you. In your presence, more than any other time, I am closer to the pure love and joy and happiness of the God who created us. We were created in love to be loved and to love. And you show us that love every day in your laugh and toothless smile.

As you grow, the world and time will tarnish your innocence, just as the world tarnishes all of us.

But today, the spirit of God within you glows strong and powerful. In your face, we can see the face of God.

As you age and mature, mommy and daddy will strive with everything we are to help you see beyond this world, to the One who created you. We will help you retain as much of God’s pure love as you can. We dedicate ourselves to that.

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