Wednesday, October 27, 2010

PBJ's & Foot Washing

Our confirmation class is on Sunday nights and most of the kids in the group are in the sixth grade. I grew up Southern Baptist so was not "confirmed." I found this info on the UMC website and it is a good and simple explanation of confirmation:

Confirmation refers to the decision a person makes to respond to God's grace with intentional commitment, publicly reaffirming his or her baptismal vows before the congregation. (note from Lisa -- remember we baptize our babies in the UMC) Most confirmands are youth between the ages of eleven and fourteen, who have been nurtured in the church since their baptism as an infant or young child. Most churches offer a deliberate time of preparation before this service. During confirmation class, confirmands learn about the meaning of Christian faith; the history and teachings and The United Methodist Church; and an explanation of the baptismal and membership vows they will be professing.

One of our ministers, Suzanne, asked if each staff member would take a "turn" as a helper during confirmation. As I so often do, I somehow "over-volunteered." I volunteered to work confirmation on the same night as the Young Adult Tailgate party (previous post). Why do I do that? or should I say, "How do I do that?" It worked out fine and was a day spent in church and with church folks so it was a good day.

This was the room when I arrived. On the table, you can see a box of baggies, paper plates, a few plastic knives, my one little sheet of instructions and three loaves of bread. Guess what we were going to do? We made sandwiches for a local UMC that has lots of members who are homeless - Church of the Reconciler which is located downtown. We offer confirmation classes every year and this is a very large class - I think there are between 45 and 50 kids this year - all learning about their faith, their God and their relationship with Him. Isn't that awesome? Gives me chills!! Since the class is so large, they are divided into travel groups. They eat supper with the larger youth group (grades 6-12 - we have lots of students!!). Then the confirmation group comes together and has a short session all together. Then they move in their "travel group" to the activity. (that's where I come in!!)

This is our group as we were making the sandwiches. Our two boys (as sixth grade boys will do) had a little bit (actually a lot!) of jelly on their hands and they had excused themselves to the bathroom. A parent mentor travels with each travel group. I had never met this dad (sometimes happens in a large church - even to the membership secretary) and I enjoyed spending this 30 minutes with him. He and his wife have triplets (immediate connection since I'm married to an identical twin and have fraternal twin kids). One of their children has some special needs and he is so cool. I served communion to him one Sunday and as I served him, I said, "This is because Jesus loves you." He looked up at me with beautiful expressive eyes and said, "Jesus loves you, too!" I thought I was going to sob aloud because I was reminded of how much God does love me. Powerful moment. Anyway, back to confirmation class. We made lots of sandwiches and a good bit of mess!! I really enjoyed spending time with all of them. One of the students in my little group has sat in front of us in church (or sometimes behind us) for most of her life so I love that "connection."

I didn't get to participate in this part but I sneaked in to see the set-up and snapped a quick photo. Can you tell what they were about to do? They were going to wash feet. Now picture this - 6th graders . . .They are presented this in such a way that it is an honor to wash feet. Now remember, we are a mainline protestant church. We don't do a lot of foot washing in church. As a matter of fact, we wash hands on Maundy Thursday. So this is a new thing for these students. The whole night was about doing for others - sandwiches for the homeless and washing feet.
On nights like this, I give thanks and praise to call Jesus my Lord. On nights like this, I am so glad that I am a Christian. On nights like this, I am reminded that I am called to be a servant to others. On nights like this, I am humbled by sixth grade students and their willingness to participate. On nights like this, I give thanks for my church family. On nights like this, I am a middle-aged mom who is so very thankful.

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