When Tina and I dedicated Seth to the Lord, it was a profound moment … we were holding a miracle in our arms. We were giving back to God what He’d entrusted to us. It was amazing to see and feel the support of family and friends – to know we aren’t doing life alone in our journey to raise Seth in the ways of the Lord. Life is a journey, and we are not alone.
There’s something about gathering together in community and dedicating our children to the Lord. Child dedication is an opportunity for us as followers of Jesus to publicly declare our commitment and desire to raise up our children in the way of the Lord according to scripture – to dedicate both our children and our parenting to God in community.
Old Testament parents received this instruction:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
In Luke 18:15-17, we see that New Testament parents were bringing little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them. When the disciples saw this happening, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” People have been presenting their children to Jesus for thousands of years and as parents, we follow in this wonderful tradition.
Our children are a gift from God, and we’re responsible for these little lives that have been entrusted to us. We need to pray with them. We need to pray for them. We need to teach our children about Jesus and the love God has for them. We need to teach our children to read the Word of God, to pray themselves, to live a life for Jesus. We need to bring them to church faithfully. We need them to grow in a community of believers – even more so with the advances of technology which can often be isolating.
Child dedication is an opportunity for us as parents to thank God for the gift of life He’s given us. When we stand before our friends and family, we declare that we will live lives that honour God, all for Jesus, and teach our children to do the same.
Here’s something to remember as we do this. Child dedication doesn’t guarantee your child’s salvation. Salvation requires a personal commitment everyone must make on their own. Each and every one of us can experience salvation – “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Though the child dedication ceremony does not save, it is nonetheless a most significant act of faith and declaration of intent by the parents to provide Christian love and support to their child. As parents, we do our best to raise our children in the ways of the Lord. We want to do everything we can to introduce them to a loving relationship with their heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.
And honestly, child dedications are a great time to come together as a community and witness the miracle of life that’s happening all around us. As a community, let’s pray for our families, encourage one another, and commit to helping our children grow in their knowledge and understanding of who Jesus is and of His saving grace.
Written by Pastor Cory Harasym; family photo by Alyssa Truong
To ask about the next child dedication service here at FAC, please contact Anne Freeman.