Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The Photo Op
Baby dedications can be high stress. New outfits. Visiting relatives. Will the baby be awake, cry, or worse - have a blowout from either end while on stage?
My neighbors spend a great deal of time each year in Africa with a missions organization. The wife told me the story of a very different baby dedication. They recently led a group of Americans on a mission trip to work on an orphanage. The group was busy painting one morning when a new orphan arrived.
He wasn't really an orphan but his mother died in childbirth and the father knew he could not care for his new son so he brought him to the children's home. The administrator took down all of the information on the newborn. Her last question was, "Has he been dedicated?"
He had not. My friend explained that baby dedications were serious business in Africa. Every child is offered in dedication either to God or a pagan god. This little guy needed to be dedicated.
The volunteer workers from America were surprised when the orphanage administrator and her assistant called the group to put down their tools and paintbrushes and join them for the dedication -- right away. The group complied and gathered in the dining area in a circle.
My friend said that what she witnessed will forever be etched in her memory. The assistant was crippled and could only walk with a cane. With great effort she knelt, set the cane aside and lay prostrate on the floor. The administrator lifted the baby over her head and began to pray.
The Americans soon realized what an African baby dedication involved. This was no short ceremony or photo op. The two workers cried out to God for over 20 minutes. They beseeched the Lord of the Universe to protect the baby and guide the path that his life would take. They were quite thorough in their prayers.
I find this story touching. These sweet African women who have given their lives to serving the orphans understand something that I need to remember daily. There is a real enemy lurking about like a roaring lion seeking lives to snatch and destroy.
I treasure my babies' dedications and the pictures that I took at each one. They were like a rite of passage if not for my baby, for my husband and me as parents. But I am convicted by this story to become dedicated to covering my children in prayer daily. I need to have the spiritual eyes of these African sisters. There is so much at stake.