I had the wonderful opportunity to accompany some of our children and teens at the recent diocesan Acolyte Fest at the Orlando Cathedral. I have to say I love worship, so I was really looking forward to what it would be like to worship at the Cathedral, but I found that it was all the more special and meaningful to share it with members of our church family.
The service began with everyone seated in our respective pews, and we were one of 36 churches represented and more than 530 people in attendance! Our pew had Wanda Schulz on one end, Gabby Memmoli, Jack Perkins, Annalyse Torres, Kaycee Torres, Jake Memmoli, and Henry Spake in the their vestments, and me and my son on the other end.
As the opening hymn unfolded, all of the acolytes in attendance began to do a grand procession while carrying their church banners. It was pure pageantry! And I so enjoyed seeing some of our kids as part of the procession. The sermon was probably the highlight of the service for me because Canon Tim Nunez did an excellent job at sharing what our acolytes could and should be taking away from their role of service.
Here are the highlights:
- No matter our personal interests or ways of expressing our interests, we are first and foremost children of God - that is our identity
- The baptismal font is offered freely to all by God's grace
- Our children are the church of today, they need not wait to be the church of the future
- We carry the light of the Gospel into the world; We reverence the altar because it is where Jesus has become our atoning sacrificial lamb once and for all
- We should serve with JOY - a joy that is rooted in God's unending love for us!
I loved the entire sermon, but I found that last point to be the most important for me and a prayer that I have for our kids. I hope that all of our children can find this sense of pure joy. It is a true gift from God when we can receive it and live out our days with it. I pray for us, because each of us is God's child, because we have been offered God's sacrificial love, and because it is nothing that we can earn on our own, that we can overcome our moments, days, and seasons of frustrations or personal battles to be a beacon of God's JOY to the world.
I know it helps me to remember that I live as a child of God, free and forgiven; I hope it helps you, too. Let's keep radiating JOY to the world!