Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jesus Loves Me, this I know

Tuesday Sep 16, 2008

Jesus loves me this I know...

For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak but he is strong

Sunday was a very special day in Jay's life - his baby dedication. I've gotten several questions from non-Baptist friends along the lines of "What the heck is a baby dedication, and how's it different from a baby's christening/baptism/(insert name of your favorite baby religious service here)?" Well, the short answer is that there's no water involved. This Presbyterian-raised Baptist convert won't pretend to be an expert on the finer points of Baptist theology and infant vs. adult baptism - you can Google that yourself. Traditionally we Baptists baptize by immersion (thus the name!) as adults, and present babies to God and to the church through a baby dedication. For me, the baby dedication is a way to thank God for the amazing gift of our child, and for us to publicly promise to raise him in a way that guides him to the opportunity to know Christ and develop his own sense of faith in him.

In the service, we as parents are asked to do two things - to promise to raise Jay in a home filled with Christian love, and to give attention to our relationship to each other. Piece of cake! We do that every day, right?

I'd certainly like to think so ... but when you think about it, these are the "big picture" things that can get lost in the day-to-day routine of diaper changing, bottle washing, and laundry. So how exactly do you guide a child into belief in God? You simply can't force faith. I've thought & prayed about this a lot, and what I've decided is that, for right now, the bottle washing and diaper changing are modeling God's love. Jay doesn't know where his next meal will come from. He certainly can't get up and warm a bottle himself. But he'll be fed every day, and he knows that when he cries, his needs will be met.

The same is true for us ... it's in the day-to-day, unexciting regular routine that our faith is formed & strengthened. We don't know what scary thing may be right around the corner. (And as first time parents, we really don't know what we're doing!) But I know that when I ask for guidance, when I cry for help, God places people in my path who are there to show me the way. So I head off to wash those bottles yet again, and try to remember that I am showing him what love is all about.

So here's a picture of the McClan at the big event. Don't you think Jay is saying "Hallelujah!" ?!?


Somehow I survived Jay's dedication with only a few tears and now I read your blog and cry like a baby! Thanks for reminding me that God is there for me in the day to day hustle.

Posted by Jen B on September 16, 2008 at 12:05 PM EDT #

I think you are right on regarding the purpose of the baby dedication. Baptism is a decision I hope he will make on his own as I know you hope this, too. As for forcing religion on him, remember that the world has no reservation forcing it's 'religion' on our children as you will no doubt encounter. Starting them off with a godly background gives them a foundation they will never leave. Even when they seem to flounder, it will be there.
Thanks for inviting us to share this special occasion with you.

Posted by Great Aunt Ali on September 18, 2008 at 08:10 PM EDT #

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