A dedication

I’m over at Mother’s Always Right today with a guest post, “5.30am is not morning”, go check it out and leave some comment love, why don’t you?
Over here, I’m thinking about my daughter’s dedication. We went to a dedication yesterday for another baby girl we know, so it’s on my mind.

What’s a dedication? It’s kind of like a christening, I guess, except the thrust of an infant baptism (as I understand it) is to make a statement of belief on behalf of the child, with the intention to raise them in the faith, confident that they will one day claim it as their own.

I see the value of some of that but, generally, baptising babies just doesn’t sit well with me. Talitha will one day reach an age of reason and it is for her to decide where she will walk and with whom. So, instead we dedicated her.

Really, as I see it, we were doing two things.

One was to promise to pass on our faith, a living heritage that runs through us so completely anyway that it cannot but affect our parenting.

The other was to pray that she would come to know the love of God so fully that it would change everything – for her and for the people who come into her life.

Maybe, as a third, I’d also say that we were thanking God for the blessing that she is to us.

And as a fourth (I’m really not doing well on this “two things” declaration), we were inviting our friends and family to join with us in helping her find where she stands in the world.

As her godparents prayed for Talitha and for us as her parents, and as Talitha tried her hardest to grab the paper their prayers were written on so she could eat it, I was struck by the reality behind the symbolic act we were participating in.

I cannot pass on something that is absent in me. So often I struggle to find God in nappy bin. Between playing with stacking cup and vacuuming I wonder about His presence. In the monotony of motherhood I often pause to find myself spiritually dry.

Yet the longing for more never leaves. I suppose it is this longing that I will pass on to my daughter regardless of what I do or don’t. It holds secret power. I’m still working out what for.

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  • My hubby is not much a believer but I was too afraid not to have our son baptised because although I don’t attend church regularly I do believe and felt that I should pass that on to our son. Our service as with the Church of England but the priest is bit quirky so the service was not oppressive for boring even for the non-believers everyone went away some something and we all felt a bit closer to each after sharing such a special occasion together. But at the end of the day as our children get older they have their own choices to make and so I totally get where you’re coming from.

    • You touched on something I didn’t say much about: the community aspect of it. It’s great that everyone left feeling more connected – what a great point for your son to start his journey from, wherever he may go.

  • Mmn very topical for me. Don’t want to just get my son baptised to please the family but they’ll be devastated if i go with a dedication ceremony instead. Got some thinking to do. Sounds like you had a lovely day 🙂 x

    • Thanks. It was a grand time. Lots of cake and laughter. It amazes me what a divisive issue infant baptism is. You have a few things to weigh up. I hope you can come to some sort of resolution without too much sacrifice. 

  • I love the fact that, unlike many parents, you are giving Talitha the chance to decide what she wants to do when she is old enough to make her own mind up. She is a lucky little girl to have such tolerant and open-minded parents. Many other people would simply baptise there child without giving them an option because “that’s just what you do” x 

    • I do see the value in infant baptism as a way of promising “This is how we will raise our child” but it just didn’t fit with how we felt. Regardless of what you do, people grow up to make their own decisions. Actually I know people who have come to faith as adults and felt restricted by the fact that they were baptised as children – so that’s yet another perspective on it.

Further reading

Showing up as myself

[image description: Adele and her youngest child sit in the greenhouse, looking at the camera] You may have noticed that I’ve changed this website’s name and URL to my own: Adele Jarrett-Kerr. When I started this blog nine years ago, it...