On August 1, 2010, our family and friends gathered to dedicate Evan to the Lord. Due to a stressful first year of life and Ryan and my struggle to find a church home in Denver, having an informal baby (or child) dedication in our home fit us best. It was an opportunity to celebrate how far Evan has come, to honor those who have walked with us through the rough times, and for us to commit Evan’s upbringing and life into God’s hands. (Sorry, I didn’t take any pictures of the event! I’m sure my sister or mom did. Maybe I can add them later.)
The pastor that dedicated Evan was our friend, Chris Nason, who married Ryan and I several years ago. He is currently starting a church in Manitou Springs and has a blog. The other day I found a link to his blog on his Facebook page so I clicked on it. His last entry moved me to tears so I thought I would share it with you all. His words are so true!
“Community is an amazing concept. It brings to mind so many different images to so many different people. It is a concept layered with meaning. I have been contemplating the idea of community quite a bit lately. The town I pastor in, Manitou Springs, CO, is discussing the concept in informal groups as they try and decide who they are as a community. I have also been thinking about it as I try and discern God’s path for Souls Church as a faith community. My thought process includes reading books on the subject, talking to others to get their opinions, and taking part in different types of gatherings. Recently, I had the opportunity to witness aspects of community I found intriguing and exciting. Let me tell you about them.
A friend of mine recently took a teaching job overseas, which meant packing up her rented townhouse and moving the contents to a storage unit. I had offered her the service of my small truck, and, along with another friend of hers, helped her transport and pack the unit. If not for the truck, she would have had to rent a U-Haul type vehicle. After completing the move the three of us went to dinner. As I was driving home I thought about the experience, and how great it is when people come together to help one another. Now, let me be frank, I hate moving people. The moving was not the point, it was helping out a friend who was about to undergo a major life change, not her first overseas experience mind you, but still major. I realized that this is one of the things that cause me to be excited about community. Real community helps keep people from having to be wholly self-reliant (and this may come as a shock to some people but total self-reliance is NOT the Christian ideal!).
Yesterday I drove to Denver to take part in a baby dedication. It was for the first child of the first couple I had the privilege of marrying in Colorado. This little boy has had one tough first year, being born five weeks premature and then having to go through all the complications of that. Mom and Dad also had a trying year, with Dad being laid off from his job. The dedication was held in their living room, and the room was full of family and friends. These people had babysat, not an easy thing when the baby is under a year and needs several measured doses of medication and not being happy about it, giving Mom and Dad much needed breaks in the midst of their journey. They had also just been there as members of a community of care for a new family. As I looked around at these faces, members of a unique community, I thought again about the concept. This was community at its best. As I prayed for the little boy, who is now a very energetic and happy one year old, I thought about how fortunate he was. This living room was full of love for this little guy, love from parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends. Love from a sacred thing called community.
I have to wonder, “Can this be duplicated?” My answer, YES! It has to be. There are too many people who are starved for what that little boy has. There are too many people who have to do their own packing out of necessity. There are too many people who are alone, that shouldn’t be. There has to be hope that authentic caring community can happen, even from people of different beliefs, creeds, and cultures. And it must happen. Does it need to be at the expense of personal belief or conviction? I do not believe so. I am a Christian minister, an Evangelical. I believe the Bible is true and its life principles are as applicable today as when it was written. However, I am in relationship with people who do not believe that. How can this be? Easy, when I know I am not responsible for others life decisions and my main job is simply serving and loving them, it becomes a lot easier to be in relationship with people. My encouragement to anyone reading this is to not give up on finding community, just change the focus to being community. Being the hands and feet of Jesus really is kind of cool.”
Whether you live close and could attend the dedication or live far away but have encouraged and supported us from a distance, thanks so much for loving us and loving Evan!