Monday, September 15, 2008

Dedicating Avital

Yesterday we had a small, but important ceremony dedicating Avi to God and our Christian way of life. We did the same thing with Nourit while Jim Smith was pastor, and are happy to be committing Avi two years later under Pastor Joe. It's not something we did in the Church of Christ where I grew up, and it's nothing like infant baptism. It's simply a public declaration on the part of us as parents to raise our children in the love and knowledge of our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ, our Savior. It's also a commitment on the part of our church to help us do this within a Christian community.

It was such a short ceremony - most rituals and ceremonies in our faith and culture seem to be that way - and I tried to grasp how meaningful it really was in that quick moment. We are declaring that the most important thing for our children isn't their health, education or future happiness, but their relationship with God. That's pretty counter-cultural these days, and I know it will take more than one declaration of commitment to ensure they grow up knowing the peace, love and protection that God promises.

I've been praying for Nourit and Avital since they were both in the womb, and will for the rest of our lives. The harder part for me is to know how to "fix the words of (God) in (our) hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on (our) hands and bind them on (our) foreheads. (How to) teach them to (our) children, talking about them when (we) sit at home and when (we) walk along the road, when (we) lie down and when (we) get up." Deuteronomy 11:18-19. It's easy for me to talk to my girls about music, or how to get dressed, or to think imaginatively, but quite a bit more difficult for me to express myself genuinely about matters of faith. It's like French for me - I can speak it fluently in my head, but I stutter when it crosses my lips.

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