Youth Sunday Senior Sermon
I have been attending Kenilworth Union Church as long as I can remember. Now, I didn’t know I was speaking until two days ago, and initially I didn’t even want to talk today. Not because I didn’t want to talk about church, etc. but I came to the conclusion that no matter what I say, I won’t do the church justice and why am I up here speaking today? But if I could talk about one thing the church has shown and taught me it would be about “faith.”
Faith is often associated with religion which I feel is important to talk about in today’s world. I want to talk about two types, both important, not exclusive, but definitely not the same. The first type is faith in God religiously. When I think about God, I feel people think safety net — something to catch, or carry on the beach. Not because they won’t need Him, but because they have more of a relationship with God — like the relationship of an orchestra and the conductor.
I’ve had some experience conducting, actually going straight to Skokie library to conduct Haydn cello concerto, but didn’t just bring up to self-promote my concert. I bring it up because when I’m conducting, I’m the only one who can hear everything and has the score. The members of the orchestra can’t see the big picture because of their location and perspective. So when I’m up there not trying to look awesome waving arms and pointing, I’m just trying to make everyone sound as good as possible and set them up for success.
I know when I play, I can only hear the clarinet to left, bassoon to right, trumpet nearby, but I have faith the conductor is setting me up for success and leading me correctly. Same with God, I can only know some stuff in the past, maybe know what’s happening a few weeks in the future, a few days if you’re as bad at planning as me, which is why I wrote this last night. But God is my conductor; He can see the road for success and leads me.
For example, in my freshman year, God is setting me up for success and leading me to where I need to go. A Retreat I didn’t want to go on —forward — instead, I wanted to slash tires with a library card. But God led me where I needed to go. Now going to NU for music camp, God made sure I didn’t have anything sharper than a library card in my pocket. And He made sure I tapped into what is one of the biggest parts of my life today.
This church and God offers amazing opportunities with Faith. No one could have known the passion the music camp provided. I never would have been able to get here by myself. I mentioned at the beginning, two types of faith. This first type of faith allowed me to experience the second type of faith, a faith that is just as important but entirely different. One of my friends always tells me that I start half of my sentences with what my dad always says…(most of you don’t hear me talk enough so this won’t annoy you) but my dad always says, “I have faith in you.” Now, I say it too. Not only faith in God, but faith in another person is just as important.
My freshman year, Lisa Bond suggested I arrange with no experience —
No experience composing or any vocal writing. This was my first experience in choir at Church, but she had faith in me. A kid with a passion for music, and she had faith that I could do more. I am forever grateful and in her debt. Lisa had faith despite my sometimes 100% wrong — or a bad arrangement. And yet, I never want to forget no matter how much I begged my dad, to take the video off YouTube.
Lisa deserves a medal for this faith she expressed in me. But also a trophy, which every little league soccer player will tell you is so much better. She had faith for four years even through last summer when a 17-year-old was asked to write and perform during the liturgical service: I worked with strings, Chancel Choir, bells, and percussion instruments. That’s faith! For that she deserves a trophy. I’m eternally grateful and in awe, that takes guts. That was one of the pieces that got me into college.
So why am I up here speaking? To thank you — thank you to the Choir community who takes an hour every Sunday to sing with me. Thank you for my recordings. I found some incredible leaders, learned to be a leader, and became best friends to the music ministry opportunities to play. I thank Barbara Falk who encouraged me to play more and be better. I thank John Bryant for being an awesome organist. I thank the Bell Choir for promising to storm NU admissions office and beat them with their bells if I didn’t get in. I thank the Congregation throughout my four years — they supported my musical growth and Lisa bond. Faith was shown through even my bad arrangements, unnecessary glissandos, and excessive percussion. Thank you for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to become who I am today.
So this is why I am standing here to thank all of you!
If you ever need someone to play piano for your party or compose for your wedding or to pump out a speech the night before, I would of course do exactly that because I am forever in your debt. None of you will ever take me up on any of those offers, so I guess all I can say is a sincere,