Being Strengthened By Our History {Confirmation Worship}

I am not sure if anyone is interested, but here is the worship service I put together for the confirmands on Sunday night …

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Confirmation Worship
March 3, 2013

Opening Words {from Feasting on the Word Worship Companion, Liturgies for Year C, Volume 1, Third Sunday in Lent}
{We went around the table and each read one line of this.}

Everyone who thirsts:
Come to the waters,
seek the Lord,
repent and return
so that you may live.
All who are hungry for righteousness:
Come to the waters,
seek the Lord,
repent and return
so that you may live.
All who need the help of God:
Come to the waters,
seek the Lord,
repent and return
so that you may live.

Prayer For Illumination {from Feasting on the Word Worship Companion, Liturgies for Year C, Volume 1, Third Sunday in Lent}
{We read this in unison.}

Bring your word near to us, O God.
May it rest not only on our lips,
But also reside in our hearts.
By the power of your Holy Spirit,
Help us to respond to your word
With our whole lives
Until you become our dwelling place;
Through Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Scriptures
{These were the lectionary texts for that week. There are four confirmands this year so each confirmand read one of the scriptures.}

Isaiah 55:1-3
Psalm 63:1-8
1 Corinthians 10:9-13
Luke 13:6-9

Reflection

Faith Works, by Jim Wallis
{This is a selection from a longer article.  The full text can be found in the book, The Impossible Will Take A Little While: a citizen’s guide to hope in a time of fear, edited by Paul Rogat Loeb.  Here is a link to it on amazon.)

Hope is believing in spite of the evidence, then watching the evidence change. That’s what I’ve learned after almost three decades of working for change as a person of faith. What do I mean by faith? I like the definition used by the biblical writer of the Letter to the Hebrews: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Simply put, faith makes hope possible. And hope is the single most important ingredient for changing the world.

Many people today would like to find some way to practice their faith or spirituality, despite the excesses, corruption, or narrow regulations of religion that have turned them away. I believe the making of the modern Christian, Jew, or Muslim will be through action. When put into action, faith has the capacity to bring people together, to motivate, and to inspire, even across former dividing lines. We demonstrate our faith by putting into practice. Conversely, if we don’t keep the power of faith in the actions we undertake, our efforts can easily lead to burnout, bitterness, and despair. The call to action can preserve the authenticity of faith, while the power of faith can save the integrity of our actions. As the biblical apostle James put it, “Faith without works is dead.”

Today, I see a new kind of activist emerging. Not one who is angry or burned out, but one whose belief that things can be different goes deeper than a passing optimism. We’ve had plenty of very sophisticated analysis of what’s wrong with the world, much of it quite helpful. But what’s often been missing is the vision to help people connect the desire to change their lives with a commitment to change their communities. That vision will likely be rooted in moral and spiritual values.

Sing Me Home, by Tim McGraw
{We listened to this song and afterwards I talked about how our church is “home” for them and how they are part of the history that is still unfolding!}

Closing Blessing {from Feasting on the Word Worship Companion, Liturgies for Year C, Volume 1, Third Sunday in Lent}
{We read this in unison.}

God, my dwelling place, as the shadows fall, I rest in you.
Thank you for the faith that held me fast this day.
Thank you, too, for every person who offered me grace, and for those to whom I could also show grace.
I pray this night for all who long to see a sign of your power in the darkness that surrounds them.
Be near to them and show them your salvation.
And in the morning when I rise, give me your work to do for another day;
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Then And Now {Confirmation Worship Space}

I adore teaching confirmation (have I mentioned that before?).  We met this past Sunday and talked about the history of our church.  We closed with worship and this is how I set up the space …

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The table was out from communion that morning, but since the class is small and we were down one mentor I decided to just have us sit around the table. It was nice!

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I used mirrors as my base for two reasons:
1. I wanted the light from the candles to reflect off of them
2. I wanted the sanctuary to be reflected in our worship service.

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It worked! Look at the stained glass in the mirror! So cool.

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My office admin and I were looking for something the other day and came across these old building keys. I put them in the center of the worship space and then added my building keys when we began our worship service.

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How is your life a reflection of the history that surrounds you?

My friends in the northeast – stay warm today!  It’s snowy outside!

Lifting People Up {Confirmation Worship Space}

I always end confirmation class with worship.  I set up a place to worship in the sanctuary – but it is more of an interactive worship space than an altar design.  We do not sit in the pews; we sit on the floor around the space.

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This week the worship was centered around using our faith to lift up the people around us. There are four confirmands this year – each one of the tea lights represented each one of the confirmands.  I lit the tea lights off of the big Christ candle that was lit when worship started.  The rest of the candles were not lit (they got lit throughout the service).

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I love the transition of the rocks to the glass stones. I wanted that to represent the way we can smooth out the rough edges of people as we encourage and love them throughout our journeys.

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This kind of space only works for certain types of worship services. They work well in a confirmation setting because we can sit on the floor around it and move around easily throughout the service.

The focal scripture for this worship service was 1 Thessalonians 5:11-4.  I closed the service by playing the song, “I’ll Stand By You” (Glee’s rendition).  I’ll try to post more about the service later!