It was quite an honor for me to be invited to help our Associate Pastor, Edgar Palacios, preside over the Quinceñera (fifteenth birthday, for those of you who have forgotten your High School Spanish) of Susana Reyes, daughter of one of the families in our congregation.
Truth be told, it made me feel again the regret I always do when I attend a bar mitzvah . . . that we Baptists don’t have something, some rite of passage to celebrate the fast-approaching adulthood of children in our congregations.
It was a joy to see Susana so radiant, to hear her hopes for her future, to listen to her parents talk about the joy she had brought to their lives and to pray for her, that her life would embody every promise it could see right at this moment.
(The experience also made me think of The Red Tent, which is a book everyone should read . . . but that is another blog entry.)
One of the very special things about this experience was that my children were also invited to participate (see how lovely they look?), and the look of concentration on Sam’s face as he carefully hoisted his rose to be part of the canopy Susana walked through was priceless . . . along with Hannah’s careful tending of her dress (which matched with all the other girls’) and Hayden’s introduction to a cumberbund (“Hey Mom, what is this thing??!?”).
More than anything, though, I have to say the honor of being part of something so very important in the lives of a family in our church, even though I do not share their cultural traditions, became for me a moment of grace.
On this difficult journey at Calvary to meld cultures and create a place where everyone feels they can worship God, it’s not too often we embrace each other like this. Thank you, Reyes family, and happy Quinceñera Susana!