Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Dedication

Valerie, Melvin, and baby Michelle

Dedications and baptisms touch my grandmotherly heart. As I witness this ceremony, I fervently pray for the seed planted during that moment to take root and grow.

I was privileged to be present when Valerie and Melvin, a young couple formerly from Africa, presented their three-month-old daughter to God. On the big day, little Michelle, dressed all in white, resembled an angel. Her mother looked so beautiful and her dad so handsome clad in their native attire. Most importantly, Valerie’s and Melvin’s commitment to Christ (and to Michelle) lit up their faces.

That devotion to Jesus wasn’t in my husband Dick’s and my eyes on the day, thirty-five years earlier, when we dedicated our son.

On that Sunday, Dick and I were simply following the example of generations before us. For us, it was a commitment to bring our son to church. However, unlike Valerie and Melvin, we didn’t know Jesus as Savior ourselves and had no idea that this was a vow to help our son grasp God’s plan of salvation. I’m sure the pastor explained this to us, but Dick and I were very good at being religious (in fact, we even fooled ourselves!) when in reality we didn’t “get it” at all.

Thankfully, God, in his everlasting mercy and grace, offered us the opportunity to come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord while our children were very young. We now understand that the real importance of this sacrament is the dedication of the parents to raise their child in the ways of God.

I don’t think Dick and I are the only ones who have kept this tradition without understanding its true meaning. And, I am sure that not all the parents who dedicate their children (or baptize, them, depending on your practice) are as committed to Jesus Christ as Valerie and Melvin.

Will you join me in praying that each and every parent who presents their child to God in your church will know Jesus as Savior and Lord, that they will understand who they are dedicating in this ceremony and will truly comprehend what they are promising? I really feel this small effort on our part can effect great change in the lives of many.

Be blessed!

 ©2012 Pamela D. Williams