On Sunday, May 5 at 6:15 p.m., the children and youth of the church will share the music they have been preparing at our Choir Recognition Service. They will stand on the steps at the front of the sanctuary and offer the gift of music. It is music that teaches and comforts, calls and instructs! We will gather with them and around them, giving thanks for their gifts.
I still remember the steps at the front of the sanctuary where I grew up in Augusta, Georgia. There was bright, red carpet beneath our feet. The steps in front of the congregation were strangely nerve-racking and deeply comforting. Everyone was focused on you, but they were the eyes of affirmation.
There is so much that takes place on those steps. Parents stand in front of them during baby dedication, as the congregation makes a commitment to walk beside the children of the church as they grow up. Children sit down on those steps during the Children’s Period. Our young people walk up those steps to the pulpit, leading in worship on Children’s Sabbath and Youth Sunday.
Standing there in front of the congregation we might feel nervous, as if the world is watching us; but it is the affirmation of the congregation, which reminds us of everything we have to offer the world! As the congregation listens to us sing or lead in worship, they affirm the image of God within us, and when they affirm us, we hear again of the goodness God has placed inside of us.
On those steps, we also discover that our voices matter! We have something to sing, and we have something to say on behalf of the needs of this world and in recognition of God’s grace.
We become a voice in the choir of the church, proclaiming forgiveness and justice for the world. As the church shapes our voices, we mature in our faith.
In just a hand full of days, our children and youth will stand on those steps yet again. We will listen, and we will affirm! We will also give thanks for their presence among us because they are a gift. We learn with them and walk beside them on the journey of faith!