We dedicated our daughter to the Lord and the war last week. Did it myself (we don’t need a priest, hallelujah!)…and it was rocking! Had some pumpin’ worship and some really special moments (plus lotsa food!).
Anyway, here are the promises we made on Saturday:
William Booth once said that ‘the greatness of a man’s power is in the measure of his surrender.’ I’m not here to say I’m a man of great power, but today Tracy and I have asked you all here to witness our surrender of our daughter. In a sense, you’re witnessing something that has already happened, first in the hospital and many times since. She has been the Lord’s since He gave her to us.
But we want to be here and to say, without grandeur, pomp or ceremony to say that we want to sign our daughter over to the Lord. As Phil Leager just sang:
• we want to surrender our rights to her life, as if she belongs to us anyway,
• we want to surrender her name and dedicate her to his glory…to raise a daughter in such a way that when people here her name they think of the Lord
• we want to surrender our hearts to the Lord so that we might be bold enough to release her at anytime for the plans the Lord might have for her, whatever that means.
• we want to surrender any dreams we might have for her because they are not our dreams to have, we want to bring her up in a way that she knows the true meaning of surrender to the Lord.
• We want to surrender her to the Lord, because keeping her for ourselves would be futile and become a shallow selfishness
• We want to surrender Ceitidh to the Lord and to seek his guidance as we nurture her into a little soldier of Jesus Christ.
Our greatest example is the Lord, who was willing to surrender much more than I could ever amass so that I, my wife and my children could be in a relationship with him today.
When old Booth was dedicating his grand-daughter, Catherine Bramwell-Booth, he said the following to his son, Bramwell:
” Now, it is the principle of The Salvation Army that everything we have or possess belongs to God. We believe the misery of the world commenced with rebellion against God, and in thinking that man could manage better for himself than God could manage for him. We hold it to be a principle of true godliness that we should go back to God and give Him our hearts, our lives, and all we possess. This father and mother, who are here to-night, in the carrying out of that principle, and in the presence of this congregation, bring the dearest, choicest treasure with which God has entrusted them, and offer this dear, precious child up to Him, and engage that they will train, and nurture, and strengthen it to be not only a child but a servant of the living God, and a good Soldier of Jesus Christ, to fight His battles and take up His cause.”
That is exactly how I feel about both of my children, especially Ceitidh today. We bring to the Lord today choicest treasure as an offering of thanksgiving.
When looking for other people who will be a special support for our children as godparents, we have sought to look for people who will always counsel our children in the way of the Lord and who have a concept of that same sacrifice and surrender to his will no matter what. Both Kirsten, who is Ben’s godmother, and Lucy who will be Ceitidh’s godmother have shown such a strong spirit-filled commitment to our children and without their prayers and support we couldn’t be raising up such good kids. We also value the contribution of all our family make to these children’s lives.
I read to you earlier some selected verses from Psalm 144 that to the first hearing may sound strange. But here, we see a strong principle at work. You see, our family is a fighting unit…we’re in it for the Kingdom…we are under the Lord and he trains our hands for battle and our fingers for war as we seek to influence as many as we can for his glory. We surrender ourselves to his training and guidance, we offer our praise, we take him as refuge in the midst of all adversity or none. The result of this surrender is a son like a well-nurtured plant and a daughter like a pillar, carved to adorn a palace…such beautiful images of the surrender process.
Many of you will know that I chose Ceitidh’s name and that I chose it because of its meaning…it mean’s pure. Children are great at purity and its so poignant that Jesus spoke of becoming like children to enter the kingdom of God…because we must be made pure by the blood of Jesus Christ. Ultimately the day will come when Ceitidh and Ben will need to chose the Lord for themselves, they will need to have their own saving knowledge of the Lord because without that they will not see the Kingdom. Therein lies the responsibility of Christian parenthood. We simply must surrender our rights to her, and teach them in the way they should go.
I want to ask you today how your surrender is…are you able to surrender your life for his glory? Can you surrender you hear for his will? Can you surrender your children for his kingdom? We need to make that definite public surrender today before you, perhaps you have something you need to surrender. It makes sense that we take a few minutes to think about that, that I think about that. I need to bring my heart to the place where surrender is the only option…I wonder if you will sing with me the verses of , All to Jesus, I surrender in your order of service, an old gospel song with such beautiful words. Lets take a few moments to bring ourselves before the Lord.
ANDREW: Ceitidh, mummy and daddy are making this unusual step of dedicating you ourselves today because God has been so good to us in giving us such a beautiful daughter. Maybe in years to come, when you see this on video, you’ll be able to understand how we feel about you, and your brother, and you’ll understand our desire for you to grow up to serve the Lord, to know him as your Saviour in a special way.
Before the Lord and everyone here, we promise you and the Lord that we will train, nurture and strengthen you, and your brother Ben, to be not only a child but a servant of the living God, and a good Soldier of Jesus Christ, to fight His battles and take up His cause. We want to say again publically what we’ve already said in our hearts, that we give you back to the Lord and pray that His will will be done in your life and not ours.
TRACY: We promise to keep from you everything which is likely to harm you in body mind and spirit, and to nurture you on all that is pure lovely and honest, and at all time to be the best example we can be to you of a true Christian and Salvationist. We will teach you the truths of the gospel and encourage you to walk holy and pure in every circumstance.
ANDREW: We dedicate you to the Lord today, because he is the only one worthy of such a beautiful child. God Bless you and keep you Ceitidh McDowall Clark.
LUCY: I make the promise today to prayerfully support Captains Andrew and Tracy as they nurture their daughter into maturity. I will be to her the best Christian example I can be and do my best to encourage her in the Lord in whatever way I can.
PETE: In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Pill Corps of The Salvation Army, I receive this child in recognition of the promises you have made today as I now pray Gods special anointing upon you.. .. .. .. ..