Parent - Child Dedication Service
Nov. 13, 2005
! Parent - Child Dedication Service
Nov. 13, 2005
Pastor: When Christian parents present their child
to God before the congregation,
they come to thank God
for the life entrusted to them,
to offer their child back to God
and to ask for God’s blessing on their family life.
We, as a congregation, come to share their joy,
to pray with them for the child’s well-being
and to receive him/her
into the care of the church.
Like Hannah and Mary in the Bible,
you have brought your children here
to consecrate them to God.
You have come to offer your child
into the strong and tender providence of God
and the nurture of the church.
You have come because Jesus said:
“Let the little children come to me.”
The Questions (to the parents)
Pastor: Do you accept your child
as a gift from of God?
Parents: We do.
Pastor: Do you dedicate yourselves as parents
to bring up your child in the nurture
and admonition of the Lord,
teaching him/her to know Christ?
Will you see that this child is nurtured
in the faith of the church,
and by your prayers and witness
guide it into the full stature of Christ?
Parents: We do.
Pastor: Do you promise to surrender your child to God,
trusting in God’s grace
to nurture and sustain it?
Parents: We do.
Pastor (to the congregation):
Brothers and Sisters,
as a church family,
do you accept responsibility
for the well-being of these children,
will you by prayer, example, and words
support their parents in nurturing these children
to respond to the grace and truth
that are in Christ?
Congregation: We will.
! The Act of Consecration
Pastor: Dear Parents,
may the God who has entrusted you with this child
grant you fullness of love in raising it.
May God grant you the grace
to live a life of faithfulness to the gospel
before your children so that they might
know the way of the kingdom.
(To the Children)
The God who created you,
who sent his Son to redeem you,
and his Spirit to dwell in you,
watch over you,
enabling you to seek, to find,
and to know him.
Tessa Briana Dueck (July 9/04) Uwe & Marianne
Ryan Jonathan Niessen (Apr. 29/04) Arnold & Gisela
Claudia Nicole Wiebe (Dec. 30/04) Rocky & Cordelia
Shanella Martina Wiebe (July 20/05) Ronald & Sophie
….may God bless you and keep you;
may the very face of God
shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
! Prayer of the parents
Our heavenly Father, we thank you for our child.
We accept this child as a sacred trust.
Help us to nurture, to love, to counsel, to teach, to train,
And to show our child the love of God.
Give us your Spirit with strength and wisdom.
May our child one day receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.
We surrender our child to you,
to be kept by your power,
to be used in your service,
and finally, to be received into your presence.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
like a father who nurtures his children
you have cared for us;
like a mother you have called us by name
and claimed us as your own;
you have loved us into being,
placed us in human families,
and blessed us on our journey.
By the presence of your Spirit
consecrate these children and parents
for their journey through life,
in Jesus Christ our Savior.
May God’s presence embrace you
and give you peace. Amen.
21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
22When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."
25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel."
33The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
Would you let someone who looks like this old man
hold your baby?
(Put this picture up after the question has been asked!!)
or this one?
or this one?
or this one?
or this one?
or this one?
or this one?
or this one?
Hold those images in your mind…
we’ll come back to this later…
Parenting is scarry stuff!
Many parents of all ages are petrified
when they look at the great responsibility
that they have for bringing up their children
in today’s world.
For that exact reason many couples choose Not to have
any children at all,
because the weight of the responsibility is just too great.
Dolly Parton asks the question of countless parents
in her Song: What will Baby be?
This is a question that worries many parents.
How will my baby develop?
We have concern for their health,
their mental and spiritual development.
Will they know what’s right and wrong?
Dr. James Dobson is absolutely right when he says that
Parenting isn’t for Cowards.
Parenting is a challenging and often overwhelming task!
But, parenting can also be an exciting adventure –
indeed the ride of a lifetime –
when we give our children over to God.
The Word of God encourages us
to dedicate our children to God;
to bring them to Jesus so that he may bless them.
In 1 Samuel 1 we find the story of Hanna.
She was a God-fearing woman
who could not bare children.
So she came into the Temple to pray
and she begged God to give her a child.
She made a solemn promise
that if God would grant her wish,
she would give her child into God’s service.
God granted her wish
and Hanna held up her end of the bargain.
She went to the temple
and presented her son Samuel to Eli, the priest
and she said, (1Samuel 1:26-28)
"Sir, I’m the woman who stood here beside you
praying to the Lord.
And that’s just as sure as you are alive.
I prayed for this child.
The Lord has given me what I asked him for.
So now I’m giving him to the Lord.
As long as he lives he’ll be given to the Lord."
Hanna dedicated her son Samuel
to an entire lifetime of Service to God.
And we know from the Bible story
that he was an instrumental figure
in God’s plan of Salvation.
He became the priest who annointed David
to be a King after God’s own heart,
who would be the ancestor of Jesus the Christ.
Think of the Power of a mother’s prayer
and vision for her child!
Lets jump ahead a few centuries to the birth of Jesus.
We read the story of the presentation of Jesus in the Temple.
Jewish babies were presented by their parents
to the Lord in the Temple.
On the eighth day after their birth,
baby boys were circumcised
as a sign of belonging to the people of the covenant,
and they were given their name.
After 40 days,
when the mother’s time of purification was over,
the baby was presented in the temple,
and an offering was made to God
as a ritual of dedication to God.
Now, lets put ourselves in the sandals of Mary and Joseph
when this old man Simeon picks up the Baby Jesus
and makes a prophetic statement:
“This child is destined for the rise and fall of many…
a sign that will be opposed…
the inner thoughts of many
will be revealed…
and a sword will pierce
your own soul too.”
OH, that God would awaken
the prophets in our generation today!
YOU! …God-fearing men and women of all ages!
Rise up and proclaim what God has revealed to you!
Say it to the parents and encourage them.
This child is destined…!
This child will be a sign…!
This child will be a blessing…!
Take good care of this baby…
she is a gift from God…
a symbol of hope and a future!
I want to share a Story of God’s work
of grace and love through a child –
as told by a mother.
“We were the only family with children in the restaurant.
I sat Erik in a high chair
and noticed everyone was quietly eating and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said,
He pounded his fat baby hands on the high-chair tray.
His eyes were wide with excitement
and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin.
He then, wriggled and giggled with joy.
I looked around and saw the source of his enjoyment.
It was a man with a tattered rag of a coat;
dirty, greasy and worn.
His pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast
and his toes poked out of would-be shoes.
His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed
His whiskers were too short to be called a beard
and his nose was so varicose
it looked like a road map.
We were too far from him to smell,
but I was sure he smelled.
His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists.
"Hi there, baby;
hi there, big boy.
I see ya, buster,"
the man said to Erik.
My husband and I exchanged looks,
"What do we do?"
Erik continued to laugh and answered,
"Hi, hi there."
Everyone in the restaurant noticed
and looked at us and then at the man.
The old geezer was creating a nuisance
with my beautiful baby.
Our meal came
and the man began shouting from across the room,
"Do ya know patty cake?
Do you know peek-a-boo?
Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo."
Nobody thought the old man was cute.
He was obviously drunk.
My husband and I were embarrassed.
We ate in silence;
all except for Erik,
who was running through his repertoire
for the admiring skid-row bum,
who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.
We finally got through the meal and headed for the door.
My husband went to pay the check
and told me to meet him in the parking lot.
The old man sat poised between me and the door.
"Lord, just let me out of here
before he speaks to me or Erik," I prayed.
As I drew closer to the man,
I turned my back trying to side-step him
and avoid any air he might be breathing.
As I did, Erik leaned over my arm,
reaching with both arms
in a baby's "pick-me-up" position.
Before I could stop him,
Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man's.
Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby
consummated their love relationship.
Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission
laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder.
The man's eyes closed,
and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes.
His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor –
gently, so gently, cradled my baby's bottom
and stroked his back.
No two beings have ever loved so deeply
for so short a time.
I stood awestruck.
The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms
for a moment,
and then his eyes opened and set squarely on mine.
He said in a firm commanding voice,
"You take care of this baby."
Somehow I managed, "I will,"
from a throat that contained
He pried Erik from his chest –
unwillingly, longingly, as though he were in pain.
I received my baby, and the man said,
"God bless you, ma'am,
you've given me a real gift."
I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.
With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car.
My husband was wondering why I was crying
and holding Erik so tightly,
and why I was saying,
"My God, my God, forgive me."
I had just witnessed Christ's love
shown through the innocence of a tiny child
who saw no sin, who made no judgment;
a child who saw a soul,
and a mother who saw a suit of dirty clothes.
I was a Christian who was blind,
holding a child who was not.
I felt it was God asking –
"Are you willing to share your son for a moment?" -- when He shared His for all eternity.
Friends, this is what can happen
when we choose to give our children over to God. They will challenge us and stretch our faith,
and sometimes a sword will pierce our soul,
as we trust in God’s wisdom and guidance.
Parenting is a sacred trust!
And I am convinced that we can only do justice to it
by inviting the Father of all Creation –
our Heavenly Father - to be part of our parenting.
God has taken a great risk
by entrusting our children into our care.
He knows that we are weak and selfish.
And yet, he says:
“You are my perfect choice to be his parents.
Take care of this little one.
Live a Godly life before your child.
That she would hear in your voice
the heartbeat of God…
and see in your actions the very face of God.
Take good care of this baby!