Main Line Unitarian Church
May 8, 2011 (9:00 am)
Ceremony of Blessing and Dedication
Address to Those Gathered (Rev. Justin Osterman)
The ceremony in which we now share is both ancient and timeless. In all parts of the earth, and from the earliest days of recorded history, parents have brought their children at an early age to a place of worship, sharing their joy and dedication with those of the wider community.
This is a public occasion, shared by parents, family, and friends, to recognize that each child born into the world is a blessing of life eternal in our midst and the embodiment of human endless potential. This occasion also reminds us that we all have a responsibility toward every child. It is our task to give them a world of peace and justice in which to grow, and to share with them our ideals and hopes.
Charge to Parents (Ms. Sandra Greenfield)
You bring your children here today that they may be dedicated in faith and that they may receive the blessing of love before this faith community, which is but a paler reflection of and witness to the Divine Love that enfolds your children. I ask you now to dedicate yourself to the upbringing of your children in the full unfolding of their spirit, teaching them by word as well as example.
Will you teach your children to love, by loving them? Will you foster in them creative, curious, and healthy spirits, and model for them — to the best of your abilities — a life of spiritual wholeness? And will you accept this responsibility, at times sacrificing your own ambitions and pleasures, knowing that your life will be made fuller and richer by the joy and experience of raising your sons and daughters?
If so, say: “We will.”
May this commitment and dedication enrich and ennoble all your lives.
Dedication: (Rev. Osterman)
Each child’s name is unique, just as each child is unique in this world. May these children wear their names in honor, peace, and courage, and in the prayer that others will come to look upon that name and find it blessed.
It is a time-honored ritual for a child to be blessed with water. Water is a symbol of many things: freshness, purity, sustenance, and the fluidity of the spirit.
Jack DiMarino (9 yrs.)
Sofie DiMarino (6 yrs.)
Kaitlyn Myers (8 yrs.)
Carson Myers (6 yrs.)
I touch your young brow with this water from old nature’s infinite sky, the water that touches every shore and nourishes every race of people. In so doing I dedicate your life and thoughts to the good of all human kind, to a freshness of spirit, and to your own true growing.
I also give you this flower, unique in all its natural beauty, separate and distinct from all other flowers found in creation, to express symbolically our hope that your life will unfold and blossom just as you must, in all of your own unique and natural beauty.
Promise of the Church School Children & Youth (insert) (Ms. Greenfield)
The Promise of the Congregation (insert) (Rev. Osterman)
Reading: Khalil Gibran, The Prophet(Ms. Greenfield)
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; for even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Presentation (Rev. Osterman)
Friends, I present to you Jack & Sofie DiMarino, and Kaitlyn & Carson Myers the newest members of our extended community. Let us bid them welcome into our midst.
Benediction (Rev. Osterman)
The blessings of all that is Good and Holy be upon you and dwell with you all your lives. May you days be good and long upon this earth. Amen.