The following story comes to the Synod Scene from the Rev. Dr. Joyce Mellor, Honourary Assistant at St. Luke's Anglican Church in Edmonton.
This is a true story told to me by my sister about 25 years ago. The young girl was the daughter of her secretary. I have changed her name and the denomination. Otherwise it happened just this way.
This is a story about a young girl I am calling Anne. Anne has Down's Syndrome. Every year, at school, she moved with her age peers to the next grade. The same happened in Sunday School. In the year that the students were to turn thirteen, Anne came home from her first Sunday School class in September and excitedly told her mother, "Mom, Mom, I am going to be confirmed!" While keeping a supportive face her Mom's heart sank. What if Anne couldn't understand enough to take her Baptismal Vows for herself? So she phoned her Priest and expressed her fears. The Priest was very encouraging and said. "We are holding the special classes on Saturday morning. Why don't I invite Anne back to the Rectory to have lunch with my wife and I and we can talk further about the classes."
So Anne went to the Rectory after each class and they talked more about each lesson. When the classes came to an end, the Rector phoned Anne's Mom and said: "Anne has a beautiful, deep but simple faith. I believe she understands most of what we talked about. The only thing I am not sure about is whether she fully understands the Resurrection. Nevertheless I am willing to present her to the Bishop."
So Confirmation Sunday arrived and the candidates filed into the first pew all dressed in their best finery. The Bishop came in before the service began and talked with each candidate. When he got to Anne he said, "Anne, do you know that Jesus loves you?" Anne replied in a big stage whisper, "Ooohhh, yesss, and I love him too!"
Bishop: "Do you know that Jesus died for you?"
Anne: (Shouting) "Jesus is alive!!!!"
"He is indeed," said the Bishop.
When it came time for the confirmation each candidate went up and knelt before the Bishop. When it was Anne's turn, she went up, knelt down and he laid hands on her head and blessed her. As she returned to her seat she had a grin from ear to ear and there wasn't a dry eye in the congregation.
Sometimes we need to hear the amazing truth of Easter with new ears. May we say with Anne's conviction, "ALLELUIA, JESUS IS ALIVE!"