Yesterday my wife and I had the opportunity to dedicate our two youngest children to God, promising to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord. It was precious to officially welcome them into the assembled fellowship of God's people, who pledged to aid us in their spiritual nourishment and nurture.
Here is an adaptation of a portion of the Anglican liturgy that I asked our pastor to use in the dedication. Of course it doesn't say everything it could have, but it affected me deeply as I read it in light of my children.
To the congregation:
We are here today to give thanks for these children, with their family and friends, and to support their parents in their responsibilities with prayer and love. God became one of us in Jesus, and understands all that surrounds the arrival and upbringing of children. It is God's purpose that children should know love within the stability of their home, grow in faith, and come at last to the eternal city where his love reigns supreme.
Loving God, you hold all things in life and call us into your kingdom of peace; help us to walk the path of your truth and fill our lives with gratitude and faith, though Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
To the parents:
Do you receive these children as a gift from God? We do.
Do you wish to give thanks to God and seek his blessings. We do.
As Jesus took children in his arms and blessed them, so now we ask God's blessing of Leo and Carmandy.
God our creator, we thank you for the wonder of new life and for the mystery of human love. We thank you for all whose support and skill surround and sustain the beginning of life. We thank you that we are known to you by name and loved by you from all eternity. We thank you for Jesus Christ, who has opened to us the way of love. We praise you for the birth of these children. Surround them with your blessing that they may know your love, be protected from evil, and know your goodness all their days. May they learn to love all that is true, grow in wisdom and strength and, in due time, come through faith and baptism to the fullness of your grace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
May God the Father of all bless Mark and Cheri and give them grace to love and care for their children. May God give them wisdom, patience and faith, help them to provide for the children's needs and, by Mark and Cheri's example, reveal the love and truth that are in Jesus Christ. Amen.