One of our family’s cherished photos, taken 29 years ago, portrays three women and a baby girl. The infant is our weeks-old daughter Melanie, held by my wife Sara Faye (then in her 20’s), accompanied by Sara Faye’s mother Celia and Celia’s then-aged mother whom we called Tata. On this Mother’s Day 2002, we took another photograph to place beside that one. Celia is the 90-year-old in this picture and the infant is our granddaughter Julia. Between them are Sara Faye and Melanie, now herself a mother.
This morning also included Julia’s dedication service at our church, an event during which her parents Michael and Melanie promised to raise Julia to know and to serve our Lord Jesus Christ, the congregation pledged to encourage and assist in that endeavor, and the elders laid hands on these particular parents and infant and asked God to bring it all about. When Julia is older, we trust, she will come to personal faith in Jesus as Savior and declare that by being baptized. Not all Christians put the pieces together this way, but this is how we do it.
Both the dedication and the photograph, it seems to me, speak to a larger truth that transcends the centuries. That is the passing on from one generation to another the “sincere faith” which is best transmitted by living example — a chain of traditioning for which God has called in both Testaments and of which we are privileged to be a part (Ps. 78:5-7; 2 Tim. 1:5). May we each be faithful in our own time and place.