Good morning everyone. I want to start off by talking about my experience at graduation from Los Altos High School. It was really interesting to watch graduation for three years prior to my own when I played in the graduation band every year. I thought about what it would be like when I was one day up there in the stands waiting to graduate. It was pretty much the same as being in my performance band except from a different angle. There was so much expectant energy from the audience and also from the people sitting around me. Yesterday I felt proud and accomplished. I was very satisfied with the work I have done in high school.
I am not very good at remembering exact ages for my memories at First Baptist Church, but I remember many little snippets of happiness during my years here. For me, a big part of coming to church is about enjoying the company of others.
I remember Jamie and David Shi from Sunday school. I was probably about 6 or 7 when they were with us. I remember appreciating the things they had to say, even at my young age. I felt comfortable in their presence. We all learned from the “crazy lady”, I’m sorry I don’t remember her name. She taught us great music and even invited us to summer camp at Cantabile music camp in Los Altos. Maybe this is where I started to have a love of classical music and performing. A love I continue to have to this day.
I remember Daniel Ha when he was he was really little. He was very energetic and talkative. I think when we are Sunday school now he has some really good ideas… when he feels like sharing. He really contributes to the conversations and makes me think. The conversations that we have in Sunday school stay with me for longer than just the hour that we are together. This is a valuable, positive part of my time at church.
One particular Sunday I remember is when we were asked to write, “God is here” on a rock. I didn’t want to do it so I didn’t. I think I felt that I didn’t want to write “God is here” in letters because for me a rock just by itself is enough to feel the presence of something. Looking at any rock made me feel like “nature” is here, not “god”. I have a very deep connection with the earth and nature so I didn’t feel like the letters saying “god” were necessary.
I want to show you this rock. We have this special rock that sits in our living room, a rock we got from Lake Tahoe. When I touch it, it’s cold and makes me think of the fresh air and open skies, pine trees and snow melted water. Having this rock makes me think of the possibility that there could be more than one word to say what most people would use the word “God” to represent. That word is nature. I used to feel that the wind was a spirit, breathing into you, making you feel refreshed. That to me was a type of natural experience that could be equated with what some say is the spirit of god.
I feel comfortable saying to you that I do not use the word “God” because I trust you all. Having grown up in this church gives me the confidence to freely express my opinions.
Being comfortable in the presence of others is important to me because I know I can be who I am and be accepted. I have always felt accepted here with this church family. Thank you for that.
I wonder if my experience will be different now as I am getting older. Will I learn new things? Will I get closer to the other adults in the church? What are the adult’s visions of church? How do they do church? Do you just listen to Rick all morning? Will I be able to use the word God more easily in my future? Maybe God already knows about my word choice and doesn’t care.
Thank you to the church for always bringing me happy snippets of good memories and for making me think. I am excited for the experiences that are to come.