by Danielle Merseles, Director of Youth and Families
“What’s becoming clearer and clearer to me is that the most sacred moments, the ones in which I feel God’s presence most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place at the table.”
– Shauna Niequist
Sacraments are a visible sign of God’s love for each of us. They invite us to remember the vast love God has for all of us, and the grace that is freely and abundantly given.
Recently, some of the sixth grade students at Bethany participated in a Sacrament Retreat. This is part of Bethany’s Milestones of Christian formation program, where each grade focuses on learning more about a certain aspect of the faith. Students arrived at the youth house on Friday night with youth leaders, parents and grandparents for a dinner party. After the parents left, students watched a movie in the youth house, ate popcorn, and had sleeping bag races in the living room before bedtime.
The next day was full of games, food, and learning about communion and baptism from Pastor Doug. The students also got the opportunity to bake the flat bread that was served for Sunday’s services. Patience was needed during every step: from measuring and mixing, waiting for the dough to rise, kneading and cooking. In the end, approximately 50 unique flat breads were created with lots of love (and frequent hand washing) by the sixth grade class.
On Sunday morning, students arrived ready to run through their responsibilities in worship that day. Words don’t do justice to the excitement in their bodies. They were elated to dress nicely, speak into the microphone, and most importantly, sit in the special chair in the chancel area. Students did not just participate in corporate worship; they lead their community in prayers, scripture and the call to worship a God who loves each of us.
After first service, one of the students turned to me and asked for a bigger piece of communion bread. She was proud of creating it and thought it tasted delicious. Her question reminded me of God’s abundance in His giving of Himself to us. God’s never-ending grace is poured out around the table in community – calling us all, young and old, to remember God’s abundance of provision and love.