At Eastwood Christian Church (Disciples) this past Sunday we both observed Youth Sunday and celebrated our lone graduate. Due to the previous Sunday's lively class discussion, wonderful Anthem during Worship and other factors, I was eagerly looking forward to being there, while I rode the buses across town. I was considering how much I esteem my Nashville church family, all together and as individuals, how I'd be glad to see any and all of them this morning!.
Due to the youth leading the worship service, we choir members got the benefit of sitting in the pews among the congregation rather than up in the chancel. For the Anthem we simply went forward and got in order on the chancel steps, and sang "Stand By Me" (the Gospel song, not the pop hit). At various points during the order a pair of boys with a mike would stroll thru the congregation and single out one member to share a story of personal courage. You see, their theme was "Courage Is in Order". And this was just one sample of our youth's creativity in this order of worship!
The sermon for Youth Sunday was preached by -- you guessed it! -- the lone graduate from high school. Josh Duncan had celebrated Commencement from Goodpasture School (one of Nashville's numerous private schools) just the evening before. And when he came in to choir practice toward the end of the Sunday School hour, he blew me away with how sharp he looked! He wore a dark suit and shirt and a lime green vest and matching tie. Hadn't seen young Josh in a few weeks at either choir practice or Sunday worship (he might have been studying hard for his final finals). But his fine apparel compensated, in a way!
But as impressive as the garb might have been, his message was even more impressive! The title was "Where Is Too Far from Home?" His theme was that the Church congregation is another home for us (beside the roof we share with kinfolk closely related by blood). It's our spiritual "family", and if one like him who is fixing to go out into the world apart from the family that incubated him but should never lose touch with them, likewise with the church family. At one point Josh spoke of how we're glad to be together at church on Sundays, and then as the week progresses and we get to Fridays the eager anticipation to return "home" on the coming Sunday gets stronger. His exact words seem to express almost word-for-word what yours truly had been thinking on the bus just a couple hours earlier!
Wow! Praise the Lord for young men like Josh Duncan, when they have a solid foundation in blood family -- the Duncans, Stuart, Dieta and three kids, are endearing to me -- and in faith family!