Not long ago in worship we sang a “Gradual Hymn.” During Lent the Alleluias are omitted, so an added Lenten hymn is sometimes inserted. At our worship planning meeting it was noted that a little triangle (Stand) needed to precede the Gradual Hymn. Why? It is the song that precedes the “high” Scripture reading of the Gospel for which we always stand. Gradual means “to step up.”
Maybe this year you are joining our family in celebrating a graduation. For us, Maria will step up on the dais and receive her college diploma. Yeah! Then she will join your graduate in stepping forth into the next chapter of education, work, or service life.
On May 19, our confirmands will step up and kneel to confirm their faith and receive Holy Communion. We don’t like to use the word graduation for confirmation because that can mean a leaving, and far too many confirmands are tempted to go away from worship life for a time. Google “bats in belfry joke.” But understood correctly this is a “Gradual” moment, a standing up in confession and a stepping up in Sacramental and ministry life.
This May let us say a prayer for our graduates and our confirmands. Moments of “Gradual” are both a joy and a leap of faith for God’s own. The risen Savior promises to “be with us always,” Matthew 28: 20, so that we might go forth in the words of Colossians 3: 17, “… and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Praying and stepping forth with you,