May 17, 2013

Confirmation and the Pentecostal Spirit of the Body of Christ

This next Sunday we will acknowledge our Confirmation Service, which occurs on Saturday evening, and our young folks will formally join as full members of FUMC of Arlington. We also remember the Holy Spirit, which arrived on the day of Pentecost.

Paul writes, “Just as the body is one and has many members, so it is with Christ.” Paul so naturally links believers to the crucified and risen Christ that he almost writes of them as one in the same. Here is a story about a person who, at the time of her service, was hardly recognized as someone noteworthy, yet from hindsight, became important to many:
On the tidy, graceful campus of Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, there is a handsome colonial brick building named “Martha Dendy Hall.” Two generations earlier, when there were only a couple of hundred students there, a black laundress could be seen two or three times a day crossing the campus in the shadows of towering oak and elm trees, silent witnesses to years of slavery. She walked alone in quiet contemplation, with a large straw basket skillfully balanced on her head crowning her clean, dark face ridged firmly and deeply with resolution and determination.

I heard that she not only laundered the student’s clothes but also counseled them on matters of dress, drinking, personal salvation, sex, politeness, and respect for others. She was a campus conscience. When the young white men whose clothes she once laundered became trustees, they remembered her. Consequently, in the atmosphere of South Carolina politics in the sixties, when there were heated debates on school integration, these white college trustees named this handsome new building in the sacred memory of their black laundry lady (Samuel Proctor, How Shall They Hear: Effective Preaching for Vital Faith, Judson Press, Valley Forge PA, 1992, p. 67-68).

Whether an old time faithful member of our church, or a confirmand in 2013, we all have a role to play in the Body of Christ. May God’s Spirit continue to bless our ministry together as God’s people—both young and not so young.



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