This past Sunday in worship, we dedicated Cole Braun to God and to this community of faith. We also dedicated Nick and Ann Cameron to God and watched while they gave thanks to God for new life and made commitments to help Cole grow up in the way of Jesus. What a wonderful view I had – to watch Cole as his parents held him, to see Cole’s extended family as Mike held him up in front of them, and to watch the parents as they made promises to God and to Cole. It was clear that the dedication was a very meaningful moment for Nick and Ann Cameron.
I think most people think of a dedication as an event where parents dedicate themselves to helping to raise their child in the way of Jesus and dedicate their child to God, to loving God with all of who they are and loving their neighbors as themselves. Certainly, this is an important part of it, but not the only part.
The title of the dedication is the Parent/Child/Church Dedication. I’ve yet to hear of a dedication that included the word church in their dedication. It usually is a “Child Dedication” or a “Parent/Child Dedication.” Why include the word church in the dedication? Isn’t it about the child and the parents and God? Yes… and no. No, because it’s also about the church, the community of faith.
Cole will not grow and mature into a follower of Christ because he will memorize all of what it means to be a Christian. He will grow and mature into a follower of Christ because he will look over the shoulders of admired, older Christians who take up a way of life that has been made real and accessible through their witness.
And what will he witness? Our hope and prayer is that he will see a community of faith who is seeking to live out the promises that were made to him this past Sunday:
- to surround his family with our love
- to accept him into our loving care
- to tell him the good news of Christ, leading him in service to God and neighbor
- to care for and nurture him as our own
What does all this mean? Do we get caught in the trap of just saying the words because we’ve said them so many times – like we might when saying or singing something we say over and over? Do we get caught up in saying the right things and not living out our beliefs through our actions?
Cole, Nick, and Ann Cameron are counting on us to keep our promises. They can’t do this alone. I hope you will give some thought to the promises that you made on Sunday. What do these promises mean? Might they mean that you commit to helping hold Cole in the nursery once a month? Might they mean that you call Cole’s family and offer to stay with him during nap time on a Saturday so they can go for a walk? Might they mean that you call to offer to bring a meal one day? Might they mean that you offer his parents a good word, encouraging them in their role as parents? Yes it does. May we be found faithful.