August 30, 2011

Clara's Dedication: Words and Images

Sunday, August 21, 2011
10:55 a.m.

“O Teacher Mine, Wisdom Sublime” .........Susan Borwick, Composer-in-Residence
The Chancel Choir; Mary Ann Davis, Soprano
Susan Borwick, piano; Susan Orgain, flute

O little one, in my arm,
O source of delight, simple charm,
O gift from above, wrapped in love,
O teacher mine, wisdom sublime.
Mystery and miracle:
I have learned to be content.
(Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above.*)
O little one, in my arm,
O source of delight, simple charm,
O gift from above, wrapped in love,
O teacher mine, wisdom sublime.
--Susan Borwick, June 2011

*Words (PD) by Robert Robinson, penned at age 22 in the year 1757,
to the traditional American melody NETTLETON (PD).

Clara Mae Hardy
Presented by Robert and Chrissy Hardy, parents

The Introduction and Welcome ..................................................... Adam Davis

[Adam: There are many of you who know and some who do not, but through God’s grace, our prayers, a family’s sleepless nights and 78 days in the NICU and countless surgeries, Clara Mae and her family have come a long way to make it to this dedication.

When talking with Chrissy, explaining the purpose of Child Dedication, Chrissy reassured me of this – she said, Adam, we have given this baby to the Lord more times than we can count. So this morning, we recognize publicly what God has already done in Chrissy and Robert as parents. We recognize the way God has used this church to support and intercede on behalf of Clara Mae and her family - for strength, resolve, faithfulness and yes, for healing.  And I think, we as a church recognize the best of what a family is during times of great joy and deep despair.

Chrissy and Robert have written words about their own commitments that they will now read.

Chrissy:  Clara is a gift from God.  She was knitted in my womb (Psalm 139:13) according to his purpose (Romans 8:28) and we believe that God has planned a bright future for her (Jeremiah 29:11).  Today we formally dedicate her life to the Lord, handing her over to His loving care as we have daily since she was born.  We have experienced the miracle of prayer and healing in her life and want to honor God’s faithfulness to us.  We recognize, perhaps more deeply now than ever before, our dependence on our Creator God for the wisdom, love and blessing we will need to guide and nurture Clara.  As she grows in wisdom, in stature and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:42) we will seek to encourage and support her love and obedience to God.

Robert:  Clara is a gift from God.  We will show her how to love God with all of her heart, soul and strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5) We will teach her about the Lord, both at home and as we go, in the morning and in the evening. (Deuteronomy 6:7) We will train her up in the way of the Lord so that she will not depart as she grows older. (Proverbs 22:6) We thank God for our child. (Psalm 127:3)  Clara, we will love you as God has loved us. (1 John 4:11)  We will encourage you to love others and do good deeds in the name of Christ. (Hebrews 10:24)  We will rejoice with you in times of rejoicing. (Romans 12:15) We will help you through difficult times and carry your burdens. (Galatians 6:1-2) We will pray for you throughout your life. (I Thessalonians 5:17)  You are a blessing from the Lord. (Psalm 127:3)]

The Reading of Scripture: Mark 5:21-24, 35-42..............................Adam Davis

[When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet.  He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”  So Jesus went with him. While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.  He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was.  He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).  Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around. At this they were completely astonished.]

The Litany of Dedication

Adam: In order that Clara may walk in the abundant life of openness and love that Christ offers, do you, Robert and Chrissy, vow by God’s help to provide Clara a Christian home of love and peace, and to raise her in accordance with our Lord’s instruction and discipline? Do you commit yourselves to teach Clara the truths of the Christian faith and through your prayers and lives lead her into a personal faith in God through Jesus Christ? Do you commit to be in partnership with the church to provide Clara a community of Christians that will help you raise her in accordance with our Lord’s instruction and discipline?

Parents: We do.

Ken: Knollwood, every one of us is responsible for Clara. Robert and Chrissy, look around you. You are not alone. These are brothers and sisters in Christ; this is your church. Will you commit to seek God as you live before Clara? Will you commit to continue to pray for Clara—that she will grow to love Jesus and trust in Him? Will you commit to teach her the gospel through both your words and your example? Will you commit to partner with these parents—holding them accountable and encouraging them as they face the joys and trials of parenting?

People: We will.

The Blessing ...................................................................... Kenneth J. Meyers

[including Ephesians 3:20-21: Now to God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!]

The Prayer of Dedication ................................................................. Trey Davis

[Dear God,

We come to you this morning and give thanks for Clara Mae.  We give thanks for those who have provided great care for her thus far.  We give thanks for her tenacious spirit.  We look on her and are grateful not only for her life but also for our own.  She is a reminder of the many ways that you bless us: with children’s laughter, with loving and supportive community, and with the grace of life.

Clara reminds us that you fashioned humankind in your image, and although we may not fully understand that idea, we know that we catch a glimpse of you when we gaze at her.  We pray that we might witness and comprehend the best in Clara—the God in Clara—and that we might be changed for the better having encountered her.

Likewise, we pray that Clara will know the good in us.  We pray that we will help her to grow to love you; to develop a desire to serve others; to strive to improve in body, mind, and spirit.  We pray that we might have wisdom and courage to guide and direct Clara.  We pray that we might be both teachers and students, and that we might sense you in the midst of that learning.

Just as we ask this for Clara, we ask it for all the children in our lives.  We remember that your son loved children, that he drew them close to him and blessed them, even as others interfered.  May we take time to love the children in our lives.  We also remember that we are taught to have faith like a child’s.  May our faith be pure and strong, and may it grow because of all that we meet.

We ask this in the name of your son, who taught us these things through word and example, and whose love we aspire to emulate and reflect.


That's just a few of the stills, but there's a lovely (nine minute) slideshow of all the photos taken by Stephen Ball is on vimeo here:


  1. The pictures/video is priceless!

  2. Wow! Aside from the beautiful words, what really sticks out is that after watching the slideshow, it appears that Clara really truly enjoyed her special day! Once again I have to say Clara-you are a lovely girl! It still amazes me that I am able to feel so much love in my heart for a little girl and her family whom I've never even met!

  3. I think I just caught a glimpse of HEAVEN. Thank you so much for sharing this special day with us. From the tear in your eye in the first picture, imagining your mom's sweet voice singing that special song for her grandbaby, reading the words spoken by Trey, viewing that beautiful video and seeing LOVE everywhere .... wow ... it took my breath away. Your kindergarten teacher still adores the Davis, and now HARDY families, and sends you so many prayers and good wishes for the future. Clara Mae is a very special little girl and heading for a life of greatness! She has stolen my heart ... just like her mommy did!

  4. I, too, love this baby, never met her or you, but, you're my brothers and sisters in Christ. One day we'll meet in Heaven and I can tell Miss Clara how much I love her ! Keep up the good work and I'm still praying for a way to send her my fat !!

  5. Heavenly Father, continue to bless Clara Mae! Through her struggles make her an instrument in your gracious mercy so that we may know your everlasting love. Thank you for your infinite wisdom and for watching over her and her family and for inspiring others who need hope. May Clara continue to be a guiding light to your loving arms. We praise your holy name and give thanks for the children you have blessed us with. In Christ's name we pray. Amen!


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