I write this week as a follow-up to Pastor Nate's piece last week about affirmation of baptism. Honestly, going into it all, I didn't really know what to expect. Like...we had a plan and everything, so that part was all good. But still, I couldn't help but wonder: will the Holy Spirit still show up today? Will the Holy Spirit still be able to enliven the faith of our young people even if it happens through an on-screen gathering?
I wasn't sure, but still we prepped. And we prepped. And we prepped. Special shout out this week goes to Kayla, our Director of Faith Formation for Confirmation and High School. When I say we prepped, what I really mean is that SHE prepped! Getting 43 busy families all on the same page is no small task, but she did it!
So with a brief gathering of the confirmation students on Wednesday night, then a few emails after that, and a bunch of video editing as well, Sunday came. There was an intensity to production this week -- a burning need to get things "right" so that our students could be celebrated. Pastor confession: We have a saying in my home for Sunday mornings. That saying is: "I'm sorry for whatever I say while we're livestreaming." Sometimes when things get intense with production, we (okay, it's me...so, I) don't always say things to one another in the kindest way. Going into it, worship had that "I'm sorry for whatever I say" feel to it. It needed to be perfect.
It's funny sometimes...how we strive for perfection, when really we just need something to be HOLY. And the HOLY part isn't up to us, it's up to the Holy Spirit.
Anyway...as to be expected, worship didn't end up being perfect, but it DID end up being Holy.
This year, there was no gathering in person, there were no red carnations, and the confirmation students professed their faith with the apostles creed in a zoom call. But even without all of the normal stuff, I still found myself getting goosebumps as I watched the monitors in our basement flash with slides of the students (by the way, shout out to Sue Wendler for that!), and as I heard their proud teachers and mentors read their names.
And the Zoom after-party. WOAH. It was certainly one of the biggest Zoom calls I've been on in awhile, AND it was certainly the the most holy. Some families were gathered physically in their homes. Other families were present on the call. There were grandparents, baptismal sponsors, aunts, uncles, siblings. It was like the kingdom of God showed up on our screens! One by one, these families laid hands on their students and blessed them using the same words that were read at their baptisms:
Stir up in name the gift of your Holy Spirit: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever.
Was it all perfect? No. Was it holy? YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES!!!! The Holy Spirit showed up in the most surprising of ways. As these young people affirmed their faith, and their families passed the baptismal candle to them to tend on their own, the Holy Spirit was there saying YES to them once again, as she shows up and does every. single. day. of. their. lives.
It was all so different, but nonetheless, it was all still holy. Thanks be to God!
Peace be the journey,
Speaking of not being perfect...this is the part where I intended to include some screen shots of all our students on Zoom, figuring that's the best we could do for a class photo. Turns out those didn't save the way I thought they would. So...here's a composite I threw together of all their individual photos. Sadly, this is missing a couple students.