Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Thanksgiving Last Sunday

During the service at church on Sunday, we had a small service found in the Book of Common Prayer called A Thanksgiving for the Adoption of a Child. It was a nice service, just before passing the Peace. It was great because it allowed our church family to participate with us in thanking God for Josephine.

The service began like this:

Dear Friends, It has pleased God our heavenly Father to answer the earnest prayers of Cynde and Allen, members of this Christian family, for the gift of a child. I bid you join with them and with Phoebe, who now has a new sister, in the responsibility which is theirs by the coming of Josephine Jiayin to be a member of their family.

Of course, only those reading along at the service knew that's what Father D was saying, because J was NOT happy about being held by him. She only had eyes for mama. Luckily, only moments later Fr. D handed her over, and she was instantly quiet.

Later, there was this prayer:

O God, you have taught us through your blessed Son that whoever receives a little child in the name of Christ receives Christ himself. We give you thanks for the blessing you have bestowed upon this family in giving them a child. Confirm their joy by a lively sense of your presence with them, and give them calm strength and patient wisdom as they seek to bring this child to love all that is true and noble, just and pure, lovable and gracious, excellent and admirable, following the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen

Let me say, during this prayer several things occurred. That first sentence, well it just hit me over the head. The part about a "lively sense of your presence" made me smile. The part about "calm strength and patient wisdom" actually made me laugh out loud. I should probably apologize to Fr. D for that. Then the list at the end of all that we should "seek to bring this child to love" just kinda seemed daunting, to say the least. I'm glad we did this service. I went into it grateful, as I said, that our church family could participate with us. I came out truly thankful and feeling charged with a huge task.

After the service, my friend Amy, J's Godmother-to-be, gave Josie a little gifty. It is framed text by Jane E Dasher, modified to fit us. It added to my sense of thanks and monumental responsibility. Here it is (thanks A - it made me tear up):

For This Child I Prayed

Hearts cried out in the darkness for you.
They have asked you of the Lord.
The voiceless prayer offered from Hannah's moving lips has again been remembered by the Lord.

"For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to the Lord."
You are a daughter to a mother, daughter to a father, sister to a sister.
Just as Jesus said from the cross,
"Woman, here is your child. Child, here is your mother."
You are adopted by those who did not bear you.
And from that hour they were in the same home. And so are you.

"For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to the Lord."
You are more than a child adopted into one family.
You are a sister to those who have no sister, those who have sisters.
You are a child to those who have no children, those who have children.
You are loved by those that you may only know as memories from someone's lips.
You are loved by those you have not yet met.

But a greater gift than all human love is yours.
You are a child of God.
We shout from voiceless moving lips, "See what God has given us,
that we should be called children of God; and so we are."
And so you are, Josephine Jiayin Lineberry
And so you are a child of God.
For this child we prayed.
For this, Child, we prayed.

1 comment:

ElastiGirl said...

It was a beautiful service and a meaningful experience for all of us - and (IMHO) I don't think you have anything to apologize for - it was funny!
The poem came from the Book The Spirit of Adoption by Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner. I modified ir & took out a sentence that would have applied to a family that had struggled with infertility. The book itself addresses some issues that adoptees face spiritually - although it is aimed for all of us as we each struggle with adoption as children of God.