The Shared Joy of Dedication

Tucked away in the corner of our gym at Village Baptist Church we have a time capsule. I honestly can’t wait to open it. I find time capsules intriguing----with so much mystery and history surrounding them. This particular canister was buried in 2004 during the back addition to our building. In 2034, the hope is that we will uncover the buried treasure and be presented with a message from the generation before us. Until then, we must exercise the virtue of patience while overcoming the instant expectations our social media timelines have produced within.

In recent years many from our body have had additions of their own. Little blessings have been bestowed upon some of our families. Annually, around the Thanksgiving holiday, we offer space in our Sunday service to dedicate these children to the Lord. Every individual life presented to God is a unique treasure that He has designed.

When parents decide to dedicate their child to the Lord, they are making a commitment to teach and to train their child in the faith. In essence they are promising to do everything they can to show and tell their youngster about Jesus. They commit to align their parental strategy to the Lord’s plans, purposes, and intentions for the life they hold in their arms.

On dedication Sunday we see a beautiful union between two institutions that God has created: the family and the church. As parents acknowledge their family responsibilities before God, they do so before the witness of the congregation. The church responds by making a commitment to the family: to encourage and support parents  as they shepherd their child. As the family of God we ratify our desire to instruct these children---whom Christ loves. The necessity of community is felt among all present as this dedication is made before God and before one another.

When we dedicate a child, we present two letters. The first is presented to the parents and includes encouragement and congratulations. A second letter is entrusted to the parents, meant for the child upon their profession of faith. The intention is for the child to one day read its script, written from the leadership of the church, stating that both the church and their parents have been praying for the salvation of their soul since the day of their dedication.

A golden nugget of wisdom that can be mined from the book of Proverbs says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Our hope is that a commitment made by the parents to bring their child up in the Lord will lead to a commitment by that child to live for the Lord, rather than for himself or herself. We sincerely desire that these parents have the privilege of handing that second letter to their children as they confess their faith -- and perhaps many of those who witnessed their dedication will also have the privilege of witnessing the confession of their faith in baptism.

When we gather in the gym in 2034, 16 years from now, the kids we dedicate this year will be nearing adulthood. May each of them profess genuine faith in Christ before we open that time capsule together. We will look at pictures from the past and take note of any messages that our founders have left us. And as we do we will stand in wonder at the God who transcends time---the God who is our Treasure.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44)