24 April 2008

Our struggle

Right now, the struggle for my wife and I is more of an intellectual one.

Little Elijah is being dedicated on May 4. We at Mars Hill take this promise very seriously, as we do all promises.

Instead of actual membership, we covenant. I am sure for most people it's probably not much different, but the idea is that we would enter into a sacred agreement with our community, and promise to hold that community close, work towards increasing it, pray for those who lead it, and be a productive member of it.

In that same vein, a child dedication service is just that: a promise to dedicate your child to God, a promise to raise the child in a Christ-like, loving, forgiving home. It is a sacred covenant entered into by the parents, the child, the child's extended family (whether they like it or not!), and God. It is a bit different than a baptism, since we don't use water to commemorate the event, but the intention behind it is exactly the same.

The imagery we use in this service parallels with the Old Testament covenants, specifically the Abrahamic covenant. The Genesis account of this covenant gives us some bloody, brutal imagery to demonstrate the seriousness of this promise, and though we probably won't be cut in half and bled dry if we fail in this covenant, Shan and I are understanding of the possible consequences. In short, we want to take this as serious as God does. And God, well, He's pretty serious about promises.

All this to say that Shan and I are required to write a short passage about this covenant, what it means to us, and what it means to Elijah. Obviously, we want it to actually mean something. We are not simply going to put down empty words on our little paper, to be forgotten as soon as they pass our tongue.

No, we want these words to last. We want these words to be durable, to stand the test of time. We are taking this as serious as our wedding vows.

So here is our struggle: Our paper is still pretty empty. I guess I should actually fess up a bit. Shan has her little personal part of the covenant pretty well done. We have some vague ideas about what we want to say together, but nothing more. Every time I sit to write something, I don't know where to start, or to end.

Monday night we had a teaching class about the service, what will happen, how it will go, all that stuff. After the class, we went home and began to think about what we were going to write. We finally went to bed around 2 am, with not much written down. Shan remarked that it shouldn't be that hard to write this. "If we really felt this way," she said, "then wouldn't the words just come to us? Do we really mean this if we have to think about what to write?"

"Yes," I said. "That's part of the creative process sometimes. It doesn't always just come to you. Sometimes, you have to work at it."

So I'm still working at it.


1 comment:

jimkastkeat said...

you and shan are such great parents.

Elijah's a lucky kid to have the two of you!