infant dedication

The infant dedication of Ava June Smith (most identifying information has been changed):

Welcome and blessed be, to the blessing of Ava June Smith, daughter of Linda Genaro and Chris Smith. We are here to participate in, and bear witness to, the dedication of her shining spirit to a lifetime of truth and goodness and beauty.

The Spirit of Life pulses in our veins and lungs, it drives the flower through the stalk and thrives, even in the hottest, coldest, driest and wettest places on our earth. Therefore, our invocation is less a request that the Spirit make itself known to us, than a reminder to ourselves to be more gratefully aware of that Mystery from which we come, and to which we return, and which changes us in ways we cannot change ourselves.  So may we be.

Our first reading this afternoon is adapted from Kahlil Gibran:  “Our children are not our own.  They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.  They come through us but not from us, and although they are with us, they do not belong to us…We are the bows from which our children as living arrows are sent forth.  The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and bends us with might that the arrows may go swift and far.  May our bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness.”

Chris and Linda chose the name “Ava” after watching Ava Gardner’s performance in the film, The Barefoot Contessa.  Her middle name, “June,” is in honor of Chris’ grandmother.

“Ava” is a variant of “Eve.”  According to Hebrew scripture, Eve was the first woman, the mother of all human beings. In the original Hebrew, the word is pronounced “chava” which is related to the words for “to breathe” and “to live.”  “June” comes from the Roman goddess “Juno,” the wife of Jupiter and queen of the heavens. She was the protector of marriage and women, and was also the goddess of finance. Thus, “Ava June” is a powerful name.  Named after life and breath itself, with influence in both the spheres of love and work, may she grow into her name well, and use her power with grace and gratitude, seeking only that which is good and beautiful and true.

Linda and Chris, would you please bring Ava forward?  Chris Smith and Linda Genaro, as Ava’s parents, do you take upon yourselves the privilege, responsibility, ache and joy of caring for her in body, mind and spirit?  If so, say “we do.”

            We do.

Would Patrick and Jessica please stand? Jessica and Patrick, as Ava’s godparents,  do you promise to live your life as a model for her to follow as she grows?   

            We do.

Do you promise to bring to her your personal caring and insight about the wondrous gifts of life and love into which we may all learn and grow? 

            We do.

Please be seated.

Would Ava’s grandparents please rise? Do you promise to respect the choices made by Linda and Chris,

in the raising and nurture of their daughter, Ava? 

            We do.

Do you promise to love her and protect her, and to tell her your family stories, so she feels connected to her heritage? 

            We do.

Please be seated.

ACT OF DEDICATION (using a rose, dipped in tepid water)
Ava June Smith, unique in the universe, precious and powerful:

I touch your brow to dedicate you to a life of careful and good thinking.
I touch your eyes to dedicate you to a life of clear vision, unclouded by prejudice or fear.
I touch your mouth to dedicate you to a life of powerful and honest speech.
I touch your heart to dedicate you to a live of generosity and love.
I rub this earth into your hand to dedicate you to a life of hard work, and to remind your parents to teach you that it is good to get your hands dirty doing the work of the world.

May the work of your hands be blessed, all the days of your life.

Let us all take a deep breath…feel your lungs move, feel the life, pulsing in your veins…Let our awareness focus deeper into our bodies…Let us connect with that source of compassion and courage within, by whatever names we call it.

Spirit of Life and Death, Source of Change and Unceasing Love, we are grateful for this day; we are grateful for the opportunity to be here with Ava, and her family and those who love her, as we dedicate her to a life of meaning and purpose;  we desire health and joy, and challenge and fulfillment, for her throughout her days on earth; we desire the same blessings for all those here present, and, indeed, for all persons everywhere; we are grateful for the power inherent in her name; we desire that Ava live into that power humbly and successfully; we pledge to pursue beauty and truth and goodness with our own lives, as models for her to watch and learn; praise for Ava’s life; praise for all life.  So may we be.

Now, having blessed Ava June Smith to a life of value and meaning, and having rededicated ourselves to the same, let us go forth, in love and joy, and may we live out the promises we have made.

Go in peace; go be peace. So may we be.

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