The photo above is from our Confirmation Kick-off Retreat, held just east of Raleigh at Milburnie Fish Camp. It is a lively afternoon of young people just beginning their confirmation journeys. These confirmands are dedicating great amounts of time and activity to maturing in the Spirit and moving towards the articulation of a personal faith in the God we worship and serve. It goes without saying that it is a meaningful year: the confirmands are exposed to the great underpinnings of our faith, are called to formulate their personal expressions of faithfulness and share these expressions with our entire church family.
Part of the day entailed conversation about worship and its importance. Our hearts and minds were designed by God to communicate with God. The soul with no worship, song, study, prayer or meditation is quickly a soul in need of treatment and, sometimes, resuscitation. Worship is where our hearts and minds breathe most easily. We talked about falling asleep in worship (and whether that was a good or bad thing—or both!), we talked about not just listening to the songs and hymns which were sung, but really singing them and learning from the words and the vision of the hymn writers. We talked about the importance of prayer and about the beauty of witnessing a baptism or partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Our confirmands will be in the balcony this Sunday, October 4, at 11:00 a.m. as we celebrate World Communion Sunday. If you are around them, be sure to say hello and welcome them into the broader life of our church.
The photo above is of Karl Zinsmeister, our Director of Music, leading the confirmands in song. The kids are playing instruments called boom-whackers—plastic tube-like melodic percussion instruments. When played in groups and patterns, they form notes and chords and are a great way to get groups to sing together. Now here’s the thing: I took the photograph. My vantage point was one where I was watching the youth smack their boom-whackers, make their melodies and sing their songs. I wish you could have seen the joy on their faces. I wish you could have heard the sound, seen the smiles and laughter as they sang and joyfully worshipped together. It was a good moment. It was a Spirit moment. It was an abundant moment: abundant with percussion—abundant with joy.
When you support the budget of our church, when you make a pledge to our common stewardship, you are a part of this abundance. Young people like these confirmands are learning about the faith of our tradition, sharing and serving within the precepts of the gospel. They are surrounded by loving adults, and they are able to worship with some appropriate measure of abandon. When we speak about abundance, these are the very moments to which we are referring: the life and work of the church to share the faith and shape our community. It is good work. It is our work. And we need your participation if this work is not only to endure, but thrive.