Monday, November 25, 2013

A Lesson on the Cross

I could probably write a book about all the lessons I learn from the confirmation students.  One gift of serving a church is the opportunity to learn from others.  The gift of being humbled.  The gift of being reminded of the power in God's people.  

This year we have five young theologians who gather on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings for confirmation class.  

Five theologians who are changing the world.

It was a particularly energetic Wednesday evening when we gathered.  
Question after question.  
       Side note after side note.  
              Interruption after interruption.  
                       And repeat.  
The energy remained high the entire evening.

Our time together begins with highs and lows and ends in prayer.  We model, from a young age, what communities do together.  We share what's going on in our lives and we pray for one another.  We listen, we laugh, we cry, we wonder.  We hold the sacredness and the ordinariness of our days.  Together.  In hearing the highs and lows of the students, I get a sense of the full depth of our community.  Challenges at school and work, struggles with family, hopes and dreams, pure joy, and pure life.  

This particular Wednesday we gathered in the sanctuary to debate.  The topic chosen by one of the students was to debate (between the boys and girls) the character of God.  Was God masculine or feminine?  

They composed their thoughts and then went to the microphone to express their point of view. There they stand being young theologians talking about God.   

The noise and energy and questions continue.  Keeping up with them is like watching a ping pong ball go back and forth over the net.  Back and forth, back and forth.  

Someone trips on the step.  Laughter ensues.  More questions.  More debating about God being male or female.  

And then I look over and see Joey dipping his finger into the baptismal font and make the sign of the cross on his forehead.

"You are a child of God."  

I ask him, "Did you just make the sign of the cross?"

"Yes, I did."  

It's almost as if I can hear him saying, "Of course, Pastor, I made the sign of the cross.  I am a child of God.  I am forgiven."  

Then the two girls run over to the baptismal font and each mark the sign of the cross on each others' forehead.  

"You are a child of God."  

And then we continue to debate about God.  We continue to learn and listen and laugh with each other.  
We continue to ask questions.  And throughout, we are reminded that God breaks through our lives to remind us of who we are.  Beloved. 

"You are a child of God."