New sights and sounds awaited me at the first Christian youth rally I had ever attended. It sure was different than any other church service I had been in. Not knowing what to expect, I mostly observed the leaders of the service and the other attendees.
The music was different in that there was a variety ranging from worshipful measure to bouncing joyful meter. Concerning the latter, I was a bit surprised when those around me began to clap on the beats of the chorus of those songs.
At one point, testimonies were called for. I did not know what a "testimony" was but I soon found out as youth after youth stood up and stated something that God had done for them or in them through Jesus Christ.
There was one or two "specials in song" where a young person sang a selection that specifically glorified God in some way. Occasionally I heard people say "praise God," "thank you Jesus," "hallelujah," and similar words as the musical selection continued.
The "hallelujah" raised a concern within since, before that time, I had always associated the term with "religious basket cases." Nonetheless I remained and watch, not knowing I would also be saying "hallelujah" a few weeks after that.
I had also heard people speaking in "other tongues," another thing I questioned until May of that year. I thought it was odd and did not understand what the purpose of it was, but I stayed at the rally.
Then there was the sermon or message. I heard those in other churches,but in this case some of the hearers would occasionally say, "amen!" Also, the speaker aimed to achieve a specific set of responses from some of those attending.
And, they certainly did respond. Numerous young people came up to the altar that knelt, stood, or sat praying. They prayed simple, straightforward prayers. Nothing was memorized.
As I mentioned last year, one young man caught my eyes as he raised a hand upward and with tears streaming down his face said, "I love you Jesus!"
That young man was just one of many around me that showed sincerity in prayer.
From the congregational singing to the altar calls, the rally impressed upon my mind that our communication with God should be simple, sincere and, often spontaneous. May we endeavor to follow the principle of Psalm 17:1, "Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips."
"O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates and thy gates of rubies, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD, and great shall be the peace of thy children." --- Isaiah 54:11-13
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