one of the great things about being part of a small home church community here is that we are known & loved deeply & also very specifically. after we had cedar, daniel & i really wanted to have a baby dedication service. we wanted a chance to say publically, in front on our church community, that we are so thankful to God for baby cedar, that we lift him up & dedicate him to the Lord. and we also wanted a chance to acknowledge that we are insufficeint & unable to raise cedar on our own - we wanted to ask for help from the church, from this specific community that we are a part of here in phnom penh, but also from the greater body of believers that they represent - the global church, where we hope cedar will find love & community for his whole life.
although we're not a formal group & a baby dedication was unprecedented, our church did such a lovely job of making baby cedar's dedication personal & thoughtful. everyone wrote little prayers for cedar & put them in his very own cedar blessings jar & then we read this reading together.
A Reading of Dedication
Cedar James Talstra
Leader: Daniel and Amanda, God has given you the beautiful gift of a child.
A&D: We joyfully accept His gift.
Group: We join you in thanksgiving
Leader: This gift is also a great responsibility.
A&D: With God's grace, we accept this responsibility. We will depend on God to love Cedar unconditionally, to have patience with ourselves and with him, to care for him well, and to accept the help of our community.
Group: As your church community in Cambodia, we will help. We will happily hold Cedar, change diapers, read stories, and most of all have grace with you as you learn about caring for a child.
Leader: Jesus said: let the little children come to me. [Luke 18:16]
A&D: We commit to teaching Cedar about Jesus, and living in a way that demonstrate to him God's peace, compassion, generosity and service.
Group: On behalf of your future church and communities as Cedar grows, we will also provide Christ-like examples to Cedar.
Group: Daniel and Amanda, Don't you see that children are God's best gift; the fruit of the womb, His generous legacy? O, how blessed are you, parents! [Psalm 127:3-4]
A&D: We prayed for this child. And now we give you, Cedar, to the Lord.