We celebrate a Bar Barakah-- a Christian form of the Bar Mitzvah-- when our children have reached the age at which they can hear from God on their own, and receive a more adult-level of responsibility of accountability to God, family, and community. We are part of a family and a fellowship that cherishes our rich Hebrew tradition for the objectivity by which it gives meaning (often, as in this case, in tangible ways) to our faith. When our son turned 13 last July, we hosted his special ceremony at our home.
Our celebration was unique for several reasons: we had an African version, with African dance (choreographed by me and performed by my daughter and me), drumming, and food. Rather than in a synagogue with a rabbi, the ceremony was held at our home our pastor, my husband and I, and my parents, who flew in from Houston for the ceremony. My mother, an accomplished poet, wrote wonderful liturgy and an *oriki,* a traditional (epic) poem of genealogy to extol the celebrant's family background.
A young person really begins to mature in his ability to hear from God, contribute significantly to his family, his temple, and society, respond with Godly wisdom to his life circumstances, and prepare for ministry around the age of thirteen. In the Hebrew tradition, all of which is also our own spiritual heritage, he is recognized for his commitments to adult responsibility within the religious community and subsequently, his recognition as a full-fledged Jew, when he becomes bar/bat Mitzvah, or son/daughter of the covenant. We are going to recognize our young men and women for becoming Bar and Bat Barakah, sons and daughters of the blessing, and indeed, of the best covenant of the blood of Jesus. They will now be recognized as having many of the adult responsibilities and character of more mature people of God. As our level of expectation is raised and occasionally insisted upon, so will the respect that we show them for shouldering such... [continues]
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