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Easter Sunday: You Can't Keep A Good Person Down
A homily by Rev. Charles Blustein Ortman, delivered at the First Unitarian Church in Providence, RI, March 27, 2016

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READINGS: ANCIENT & MODERN
Our reading today is from the Book of Mark:
...when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' "


HOMILY
INTRODUCTION (Rev. Charles Blustein Ortman)

We gather together at this time and in our very special place for a most wonderful purpose, the dedication of these children, here before us. A Child Dedication is often a rite that is celebrated when children are little babies. But it doesn’t always happen then. Parents bring their children when they can or when they wish to honor their young one’s lives within the context of community, family and friends that will support their growth and learning. We are happy to have these parents and children come before us today, ready to be supported by our love and commitment to their growth and learning. We are most pleased to dedicate the unfolding lives of all these young children, especially on this Easter Day, when we gather to celebrate the eternal nature of the cycles of life.

And so today we celebrate the irrepressible renewal of life, we especially celebrate the births and early years of several of our children. Today we recognize you and your names: Westley Dylan Moses, Lena Mary Rameaka and Jack Francis Rmeaka.

How glad we are that they are, that you are, a part of our community. We are here to share in that which makes us all human and to let these children know that they are welcome in our ongoing earthly dance.

We acknowledge the wonder and awe, and the inherent worth and dignity in their young lives, which their parents have welcomed into their own. We pledge along with them to learn to recognize that we are all part of the interdependent web of existence; that we are all in this together; that we are all our brothers and sisters keepers; that we are all the guardians of this wonderful planet earth, which we call home.

Today these parents dedicate themselves to jointly participate in the ongoing creation of these children’s lives, of their love for their children and still, for their love for one another.

By the act of presenting their children here before this congregation they acknowledge the wish for our support and our encouragement. In this ceremony of dedication, may we all then affirm that it is good to be alive, and that the gift of life is a wondrous and precious gift. By this dedication may we formally welcome you children into our community of faith, and may we commit ourselves to sharing the finest parts of ourselves with you all.

GIVING THE CHILDREN THE ROSES (Cathy Seggel, D.R.E.)

I give you a rose as a symbol of welcome. The budding flower is a symbol of the beauty of life and the meaning of your dedication. Whether a flower is beautiful; whether it comes into full bloom; whether it fulfills itself as a flower depends upon the nurturing it receives. No flower grows alone, apart from the sunshine and the rain, apart from the soil in which it lives. May the soil of your living be of good nurture.