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The time came for Mary and Joseph to do what the Law of Moses says a mother is supposed to do after her baby is born. They took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem and presented him to the Lord, Luke 2:22 (CEV)

Plain and simple reality of it is, church can be boring. Depending on the style of worship, many churches do the same thing at the same time, and, at times, for reasons unknown.

It’s really no wonder that the younger generations question why we do the things we do and why we do them. It’s a sad reflection on the body of Christ that entire church families have been split because some wanted to things done differently and others wanted to protect the ‘status quo.’

Things haven’t changed much of course. During the time Jesus walked on earth the worship in the ‘church’ was pretty much the same as it had been for hundreds of years. Offering sacrifice, celebrating feasts, making pilgrimages were all a well orchestrated process with little room for deviation.

The key to true worship then, just as now, was attitude. I wonder what was going through Joseph and Mary’s head as they entered the temple that day! They had no doubt witnessed many dedications of children in their lives. They’d seen the ceremony, watched the sacrifices, and perhaps joined in the celebration.

The Law of Moses demanded that each child be dedicated to the Lord. Boys were dedicated about 40 days after their birth, girls a bit later. But each child was taken to the temple and sacrifices offered to the Lord.

There can be many ‘theological’ opinions on the method and the process of the dedication, but the reason for this activity was to present the child before the Heavenly Father, the one who formed him/her in the womb. The earthly parents come before the Heavenly Parent to give back to him what he’s given to them.

The main player in the process was God, not the parents.

Do you think Mary and Joseph were a bit more aware of that fact as they entered the Temple than other parents? They both had conversations with angels. They’d heard the report of the shepherds. They’d seen prophecy fulfilled before their very eyes. And it wasn’t done yet!

While none of us as parents have had angelic visits proclaiming our children to be the ‘Messiah’, we all have the same responsibility that Mary and Joseph did. We all need to realize that our children are not our own. They are on loan to us from the Father who created them. Our responsibility is to nurture them throughout their lives in a way that glorifies their creator, not our tradition.

The dedication of a child to the Lord (regardless of the method) is much more than a ritual. It’s much more than a one-time occurrence. Dedication of our children to the Lord is the beginning of a process, not the end. The responsibility of teaching Gods’ ways falls on the parents, not the church (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

Dedication of our children to the Lord is much more than a ritual and lasts a lifetime.

PRAYER: Father I pray for our families. I pray that parents will rely on you for the wisdom to teach their children in your way. I pray for children, that they may find the freedom in Christ to live fulfilled lives. In Jesus name, Amen.

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