I have no words to describes yesterday’s worship service. I am so proud of our confirmation class and they positively shined!
I was explaining confirmation and the affirmation of baptism to the kids during the children’s sermon. Then I called the confirmands up and the kids prayed for the confirmands – so cute!
My awesome class!
Here’s my sermon …
A Letter To The 2012 Confirmands
Dear Alyssa, Tommy, Spencer, Nick, Julia, Hannah, Morgan, Rebekah, Matt, Emmie, Ally and Loren,
What do I say?
I will be honest – when we started this Confirmation journey back in September, I did not know what to expect. I wanted to try something different with you guys; something that would allow you to spend more time talking than listening, more time asking questions than getting fed answers and more time growing in your own faith than fitting into the mold of a religious structure. In order for this program to work effectively you all needed to be willing to open up – not just to one another, but to yourselves as well.
Well – nine months later, you have far exceeded all of my expectations.
A few months ago I was meeting with my new clergy group. I was talking about one of our night class worship services when one of my group members turned to me and said, “Do you realize that every time you talk about your confirmation class, you absolutely glow? I want that.”
She is right. I have so much joy in my heart every time I think about you, talk about you or spend time with you. You are a unique and special group of individuals – and I am so very lucky to have been able to teach you this year.
As a group, you are smart, polite, respectful, faithful and caring. You allowed yourself to be completely engaged in the process of confirmation. You supported one another along this journey through confirmation. You laughed together and cried together. You shared meals, fellowship and worship together. You were willing to take risks, to try new things. You pushed each other and encouraged each other as you explored your faith. You never passed judgment on one another. You did not criticize each other when your views differed. You just showed friendship and love to each other.
You have helped me to grow through this process as well. You asked me difficult questions and waited patiently as I fumbled my way to come up with some sort of an answer the even remotely sounded eloquent. You offered feedback on our classes and our Sunday night worship services. You gave me new ideas for changes and ministries that could take place within and benefit our church. You came through for this community when we asked you to lend a hand. You have given us a lot to think about – and a lot of things to grow on as well.
One of the most popular subjects in theological circles right now is the decline of mainline churches. Churches – like ours – are getting smaller and smaller; general concern is that many churches will not be able to survive long-term.
I used to be just as concerned as most people – but I am not sure that I am anymore. You all have given me so much hope for the future of the church. I hope the adults that are sitting in this sanctuary today trust me when I say that as long as there are youth like you that are passionate about their faith and about nurturing strong communities of faith, the church that they love and care so much about will be absolutely fine in the years to come.
Before we move into the Rite of Confirmation, I have a few last things to say.
The first scripture I chose for this morning’s service was from Jeremiah – his call story. I read it at one of our Sunday night worship services and pointed out that when God called Jeremiah into the ministry, he said no. Jeremiah had doubts about himself; he said that he was too young, that he would be inadequate, that he did not have enough answers and that he did not know why God was calling him. I told you then and I am going to tell you know – it is okay to have doubts.
You are 14 and 15 years old. You do not have to have all of the answers right now. You do not need to know what you want to do with your life or how you are going to do it. It is not necessary for you to have come to any insightful conclusions about your faith and your belief system – that wasn’t the goal of confirmation. When you say, “I believe” today you are not making a definitive an infinite statement – you are simply expressing where you are in this moment. And you are promising to continue on your faith journey, asking questions and being open to finding answers in unexpected places. Selfishly I hope that your faith journey keeps you right here at the Rehoboth Congregational Church. Because I think that each and every one of you has the propensity within yourself to do great things here.
Please – always be true to who you are. Know when to apologize – but also know when not to apologize. Do not be afraid to speak up when you feel like your voice needs to be heard. Never stop asking questions. Embrace your gifts. Sense the strength that you hold within yourself – use that strength. Love yourself.
Let your heart see your vision – and let your mind guide your journey.
Jesus said, ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.’
I am so very proud of each and every one of you. Now go out into the world and let your light shine!
You are a magnificent creation of the divine!