|Previous Baby Dedication at NVM|
Recently, we had a baby dedication at the church. Well, there was supposed to be one. Pastor Pierre was not there, so just before the service, I was asked if I would mind doing a baby dedication before I preached. I was a little surprised, since I’d had no forewarning, but at the same time, I was excited to get a part in this. Baby dedications are a big deal. Parents will often rent outfits for themselves and the baby to come decked out. They often invite other family who are not from the church or area to come and support them in it. As I thought about it before the service started, I was really pleased that they’d asked me to do this. The part in the service came up where we were going to present the baby and family. They were called up to the front and a mother carrying her baby walked to the front of the church. As I suspected, they were both dressed to the nines. The elder who had called them up asked where the father was. When the mother explained that he could not come that morning, the elder apologized, thanked her for coming, but then said they could not do the baby dedication that morning. Talk about a rough way to start preaching! I was given the mic as the mother made her way back to her seat and I was really conflicted. To transition, I prayed for the baby, Merveus Saint-Victor, before going into the sermon.
After the service, I found the elder and asked him to explain what had happened. The mother had spoken with the church leadership and assured everyone that the baby’s father would be there. She was not married to him. This is one of the areas in which the church is making a stand against the culture. It is culturally acceptable for a man to have many wives, or women. Marriage here is more of a common law practice, rather than a legal binding in a lot of areas, such as Chambrun. Men will often have a different wife in two or three different towns and spend him time between them. This is a practice that the church is understandably taking a stand against, thus the awkward moment in church. If women were going to be willing participants of such a lifestyle, the church is going to be firm in letting them know it’s not biblical. If a woman decides to leave such a situation and want to present her baby as a single mother, the church will most definitely promote that and come alongside of her to help. What seemed like such a slap in the face to the woman this morning now looks like the loving rebuke of a church, doing just what God would want it to.