Infused with joy

crossJoy. Wonder. Fascination.

Those were the emotions I observed last week in the Prayer Garden at church with the 6th grade Confirmation Class. At First Presbyterian Church Franklin, the children’s library has been transformed into a Prayer Garden during Lent, with stations that encourage prayer and thoughtful contemplation.

The air feels different in this room that has been set up so beautifully, with music playing softly, candles glowing, the sound of the water trickling on the fountains.

It feels holy.

This particular Sunday, the Confirmands experienced each of the stations themselves, and then assisted the preschoolers, who came into the room with eyes wide with curiosity and fear.

The Confirmands gave softly whispered instructions and guidance to the preschoolers as they came to each station. The fear and curiosity turned into smiles as the children began to enjoy the experience.

There is the prayer labyrinth, where the children were encouraged to walk the labyrinth rug and pray.

There’s the sand station. A container of fine sand is provided with a stick, along with a series of symbols with explanations of their meanings, and participants are encouraged to draw the symbols in the sand.

There is a station with clay for modeling, one with music, a space for learning breath prayers, and a cross on which you trace the Lord’s Prayer. Spices are ground up and placed in a small bag to remind us of prayer with their scent. There is water, with several fountains and smooth stones to hold or rub, plus a wall full of beautiful crosses. Drawing is encouraged at the art station, and there is a small tree onto which prayer requests can be written on small cards and then tied to the branches.

I felt like I was peeking into a sacred space, with angels at work.

I saw pure joy.