The eight members of our 2015-2016 Confirmation Class will have the baptismal vows of their faithful parents confirmed by the church this Sunday – or in one case make those vows herself. Welcome to the family, Preston, Jenna, Kelly, Jamie, Alex, Jovan, Alyssa, and Gianna.
To say that Confirmation Sunday is a beginning and not an end, is like the cliché about graduation that is heard so often this time of year, importantly true, but easy to ignore.
Confirmation classes take on their own personalities. They are groups of real people with common experiences, inside jokes, and members whose idiosyncrasies sometimes blend and sometimes clash. Maybe just a little bit quirky, I love the personality of this 2015-2016 class. The talkers talk, but mostly about the topic of the day, and the non-talkers, when asked, offer amazing insights, having listened all the while when they were not talking.
Preston, Jenna, Kelly, Jamie, Alex, Jovan, Alyssa, and Gianna: I join Mrs. Casten, Dr. Joe, and Ed in saying it has been really good to be a part of your lives this year.
But Preston, Jenna, Kelly, Jamie, Alex, Jovan, Alyssa, and Gianna, I have to tell you that the cliché is true. Sunday is just a beginning.
In those conversations around the first Sunday of the month dinner table (thanks, parents, for those great meals), on our Tel Hai retreat last fall, and in our morning and evening classes, you have opened a window into the world in which you live. It is a world of exciting possibilities, incredible energy, intense emotions, some relational drama, and huge questions still to be answered.
I think you need the church.
You need the people and you also need the steeple.
On Sunday morning you are going to tell the whole church that Jesus Christ is you Savior and Lord and that you intend to be his disciple and to be a faithful member of his church.
On Sunday morning the whole church is going to say “we do” in loud voice as they promise to pray for you and encourage you on your journey of faith. They will promise to offer their gifts and wisdom to you and to receive the gifts you have to give to them.
Let’s agree to be promise keepers. I promise that I will challenge the people of the church to keep their promise; I pray that you will keep yours.
Preston, Jenna, Kelly, Jamie, Alex, Jovan, Alyssa, and Gianna, you have the rest of your high school years before you and then, well, who knows what. Exciting possibilities, incredible energy, intense emotions, relational drama, and huge questions. Exciting, incredible, intense, dramatic, huge – that’s the world you live in. Yes, amazing possibilities, but it will not always be a friendly world. That’s why I think you need the church, both people and steeple.
In a world that defines success but what you do and who you know, you will need the people of the church to remind you of the day of your baptism and confirmation. “See what love the Father has for us that we should be called children of God, and so we are.” You are not defined by who you are so much as whose you are. Please, do not believe anyone who says otherwise.
With apologies to the children’s song you learned long ago, the church is, also, a steeple. That is, it is a place, a real place in a real world, a safe place in a scary world. Okay, LPC doesn’t have a steeple, but you know where we are. Make sure you are at that real place in the real, sometimes scary, world on Sundays for worship and class, on Thursdays for youth group. In the real place (without a steeple) that is LPC, you will find the real people who really love you and really want you to grow with real faith in your relationship with a real God. And bring your fears and your questions and your great joys and your good friends with you.
Preston, Jenna, Kelly, Jamie, Alex, Jovan, Alyssa, and Gianna; welcome to the family!
See you Sunday