A Letter To The Confirmation Class

What a great service – I have said it before, but I will say it again.  I am so blessed!

Here’s today’s Confirmation sermon …

John 15:1-17

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A Letter To The Confirmation Class

Dear Confirmands,

Today is a big day.

Today is the day where you will affirm your baptismal vows; today is the day where you will declare your belief in God, your desire to walk in the path of Christ’s ministry and your openness to the Holy Spirit in your lives; and today is the day where you will make a commitment to the Christian Church and to your church family. Today is the culmination of months of hard work, of discernment, of fellowship, of long discussions and of careful studies.

Today is the day the day where you will look to your left and you will look to your right and you will say to the congregation that raised, supported and loved you, “Thank you”. Today is the day where you will think about the baptismal vows that were said on your behalf and you will take ownership of them – and you will say them yourselves. Today is the day when will you look around at the needs within the walls of the this community, in the greater community and in the world and you will say the words, “Here I am, Lord.”

Today is the day that you take ownership of the gifts that you have within yourselves and the potential that you have to do great things. Today is the day that you think about the ways that you are already engaged in ministry – and in the ways that you would like to be engaged in ministry in the future.
Today is not a day to take lightly in your lives, in the life of this church and in the life of the entire Christian Church.

Today is a big day. Today is a special day. But don’t be scared.

There are six things that I want you to remember today as you take part in the Rite of Confirmation.

One – You are not alone in this.

Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches”. Jesus did not say, “You are a lone oak tree in the middle of an empty field and I might check in on you from time to time.” You are not alone in this. There are other branches. There are the branches – friends of yours – that are being confirmed with you today and there are the branches – myself, your parents and the other members of this congregation – that surround you at all times. And there is a vine – Jesus Christ, who lived and walked and talked as one of us – that will always support you and lift you up.

Faith is a journey, one in which you are constantly moving and constantly learning and constantly growing on. And you do not have to grow in your faith alone. Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower.” God will shower you with love and strength and grace and courage and God will help you grow.

You are not alone in this.

Two – This is not a beginning and this is not an end.

Today is a big day. Yes, there is some pomp and circumstance, a little bit of special music in the worship service, family in from out of town, lots of photo opportunities and very large sheet cake waiting for you in the fellowship hall. But today is not the beginning of your faith journey, nor is it the end of your opportunity to ask questions and to have doubts. ‘To confirm’ means ‘to strengthen’ or ‘to make firm’. Today is a day when you affirm your willingness to be open about your faith and your commitment to the church. But it is also simply just part of a journey that you have already been on for years – and a journey that you will continue to be on for the rest of your lives. Do not be overwhelmed and anxious by the enormity of today’s events – but rather be inspired by them.

This is not a beginning and this is not an end.

Three – Confirmation is not a definitive definition of one’s faith.

Do not think that you have to have all of the answers today. Do not think that you have to have your faith perfectly explained and articulated today. Do not think that you are not allowed to have any more doubts in your life. No one in this room – including myself – can say that they completely understand their life and their faith and that they never have any questions.
At the end of your confirmation class, each of you wrote of Statement of Faith. Your faith – in your words. They were wonderful. They were inspiring. They were well thought out. They brought tears to my eyes. They caused John Haynes and me to have an email conversation where we just replied, “Wow” back and forth to one another. They all eloquently and individually spoke to where you are all right now.

I hope you keep those statements. I hope you read them every now and then. I hope you refer to them when you are struggling and I hope they give you a sense of direction and guidance in your life.

But I hope you know that they are not binding. Your views on life can change. Your thoughts on faith can change. Your beliefs can change. It is all part of the journey you are on.

Confirmation is not a definitive definition of one’s faith.

Four – Confirmation does not mean you are allowed to stop coming to church.

In fact – confirmation should give you all the more reason to be excited about coming to church! You are one step closer to becoming a full-fledged member of this congregation. You can take on leadership responsibilities, worship responsibilities, community building responsibilities and educational responsibilities. You can make suggestions about programs that you would like to see thrive and then you can help them to be implemented.
Be the church you want to see in this world.

Confirmation does not mean you are allowed to stop coming to church.

Five – Love one another.

Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. … You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”

You may not always agree with one another. You may not always get along. There are many times and places for bickering to ensue – in school, in church and at home. But if you allow yourselves to put differences aside and come into this space to worship together – the world will truly be a better place.

Love one another.

Last, but not least – Six – Have fun!

Today is a big day – and it is a day that is all about you! Soak up every bit of the day, embrace each moment and let yourself relax and just enjoy it all. You have most certainly earned it.

Have fun!

Let’s recap:
1. You are not alone.
2. This is not a beginning and this is not an end.
3. Confirmation is not the definitive definition of one’s faith.
4. Confirmation does not mean that you are allowed to stop coming to church.
5. Love one another.
6. Have fun!

Elizabeth, Bobby, Suzanne, Brandon, Meredith, Jeff and Keighley – I know that I speak for everyone here when I say that we are all so proud of you. We know that you are going to do great things – in this church, in the community and in the world. We celebrate with you today and we celebrate you today.

Wishing you peace for your journey, hope for the future and unexpected grace.

Yours In Christ,
Rev. Sarah

Amen.

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