This is a baby dedication diddy. No, not that kind, as in “the baby dedication was great until the baby made diddy all over the place” — just a little blurb about the mystery of child dedication in the church.
Jesus was 8 days old and was circumcised, per the regulations of the time. In my time and place we now just ask some questions and say a prayer.
The symbolism of baby dedication is this: parents express a desire to raise up their kid in the way of the Lord. Whether they realize how difficult this will be is part of the mystery of parenthood, namely that we are only about 1/2 step ahead of what is required of us at every era. Raising a child is difficult; raising a child in the ways of the Lord is especially difficult because of the intention that is required at every step, or, if you will, half-step.
Each member of the drama plays a part:
The child — whose job it is to sit there and smile, or cry, or diddy, or whatever. Like my first job at the Dollar Store, the biggest part was just showing up.
The parents — whose job it was to make a child (done) and whose job it is to make a child (ongoing).
The church — whose job it is to stand behind the parents and help them in doing an impossible task. This includes family and friends who make up their social fabric.
The Lord — whose job it was to knit the child together, to help the parents raise the child, help the church stay centered on Christ, and to simply be. The baby and the Lord have similar tasks, both according to their ability.
I had the honor of dedicating my nephew today. He wore a non-ugly Christmas sweater which had ont an 8-bit resemblance of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He (the baby) drooled and he (the reindeer) had drool on it. The child was content and even jovial — probably because the practices of dedication have drastically changed. He was there but will remember none of this. But certainly his parents will, and hopefully the church will. After all, we’re in this together.