Students get nervous heading into our annual Speech Meet; they work very hard at memorizing, and at the same time know they will be up on that big stage all by themselves. The two-day event is one of the most wonderful things that happens here. That might be hard to keep in mind if you’re in the process of pushing a son or daughter to finish preparing! Yet I’d like to invite you to look at it from a sanctuary perspective.
The students, from kindergarten all the way up to 12th grade, spend a few minutes in a quieted room, built as a place for worship for the people of God, to say something important. One after the other, boy and girl, a young woman and young man, they use their minds and voices in recitation. Some are too fast, some are awkward, some are accomplished. Every one of them, however, stands as an in-progress work of God. Every one of them is a child loved and prayed over. It’s a living presentation of the most precious things in the lives of our families. But it’s not like a museum display or a tacky child beauty pageant. These children are made in the image of God and when they move and speak and smile, even when they hurry back to the safety of the pews, they show the handiwork of our Creator.
When we begin the Speech Meet, we start with a prayer of dedication, that our Lord would be pleased with the work of the children and receive the two days as worship to Him. We attribute to Him the work evident in the lives of the children, and how it is Him that the truth, purity, joy, humor, and seriousness of the many words reveal.
The hours spent together are filled with the unique personalities of the students, and at the same time filled with the presence of the Lord. That truth may be outside the reach of the participants, but parents might see it if they look for it.
I hope you can come and watch! There is plenty of room in the sanctuary. (Sorry: we can only make estimates on when each grade will start. Contact your child’s teacher for those times.) Thank you for the training you’ve given your daughters and sons in preparation for these great days.
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
For the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Psalm 115:1 (ESV)