We all have them. Looking back you can see how you’ve grown spiritually. I guess this will be a remembering of how I’ve grown.
I was raised in the Lutheran Church. We went to church and Sunday School regularly. The church was my family’s church and I was surrounded by my Grandparents and great Aunts and Uncles. But by the time I reached Confirmation age (12-13), my parents stopped going regularly and so did I. We would be put into the C & E category, you know, Christmas and Easter.
When I was a junior in High School I was asked to come join a group of teenagers that sang. Now, I loved to sing; I was in the choir at school. So when Beverly asked if I’d be interested, I jumped at the chance. Wow, I didn’t have to audition, just show up at a practice (which were held weekly) and start singing. The group was called The New Life Singers and at the point that I joined there may have been about 15 to 20 of us, lead by a gentleman named “Doc” Mercer. We sang Christian Musicals that were popular back in those days, “Tell It Like It Is”, “Come Together” and “Celebrate Life”.
The New Life Singers would travel to different churches and sing our musicals or sometimes we would do special music. One time we learned some Jewish folk songs and, along with our usual Christian music, sang at the Hebrew Home near Washington, DC. One year we sang at the Festival of Lights on the Mall in Washington DC. Our group was based in Damascus, MD, but we went on tours during the summers, into Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia. One year we toured all the way up into Maine and back. What a wonderful experience. Something that I specifically remember is what happened when we stopped to eat while on tour. We tried to stay away from fast food, but couldn’t all the time. We would all get our meals and then, at a signal from Doc, break out singing the Doxology (in four part harmony) in the middle of the restaurant. What fun!
Unfortunately, The New Life Singers disbanded when I was in my 20’s. We all grew up, went to college and started families. At this time in my life, I’m active in Via de Cristo. I’m still singing, bringing music to these renewal weekends. It has strengthened my faith to be a part of a larger group that brings the Lord Jesus to others. My faith was burning bright back when I was younger. In between, well, not so much. It was like a small flame, just behind a small shade. Not bright, but still there. After I walked on a Via de Cristo weekend, the shade that shielded my “flame” was taken away and it started burning bright once again.
I’m so glad that the Lord has allowed me to be a part of a ministry again. I really missed being a part of a larger ministry while I was raising my family. This time, no matter what, I will let the flame burn bright in my life.