So we are just now starting to hear about the country opening back up to a more normal state of being. I imagine many of us are thinking about the things we cant wait to get back to. Hugging loved ones, going to the beach, playing group sports and most important of them all sitting at the bar talking about how amazing the Star-wars movies really are…ok maybe not that last one but you get the point. I have been online and seen a number of people posting about all the things they a can’t wait to do again.
Last week I was on the phone with a parent and she said something that made me think. She talked about with all the things wiped clean from her schedule what things was she doing now that she wants to keep after the quarantine has ended? So here is our question. What things are you going to keep? Is it going to be sitting with family for meals. Maybe checking in our your parents, friends or family. Maybe you have been better about going to worship every week, it was in your pj’s, but you have been consistent. Maybe it is getting more exercise by taking walks as a family. I know the dog would love for less than 7 a day but maybe keeping up with it as family on a daily basis is more doable now. We all have things we have changed over these past weeks maybe we can keep some of the good habits going.
For me it is going to be reading my bible. I also want to help my family make this a new habit as well. I want us to get in the word and talk about it on a weekly basis and really see what God has to say. So here is my challenge to all of you if you are looking for this as I am. Would you join us? I am going to be starting an online bible study for families on Thursday nights at 6:30pm. All you need is a bible and a computer/phone. It will be a time to get in the word. You can join us on a zoom call if you want or you can read with us and submit me some questions at a later point. The first 5 weeks are going to be on Galatians. We start Thursday April 30th. Lets start a new pattern in the word together as a family. You certainly don’t have to but do keep up going to Church at least, even if it is in your pj’s!
This past Sunday I got to experience one of my greatest moments as a Dad. My daughter stood before the congregation of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Big Rapids Michigan and confessed her faith in Jesus. It was an amazing moment in her faith life and I couldn’t be prouder. Standing next to her while she did it will be something I cherish for a long long time.
Confirmation is an important event. Sometimes I think we forget the importance of this event. It isn’t however the end of our faith journey. For some this can seem like graduation from our time of formal education with the scriptures. I have heard is said by adults “I learned all I needed to about the scriptures in confirmation so I don’t need to go to bible study!” My response typically to this lovely moment is you must have miss understood what confirmation is all about. You must have thought confirmation was about making sure you know everything in the Bible! (This by the way isn’t even possible in a two year program) Heck I studied the bible for four years in college and can tell you with out a doubt in my mind, I know very little. So confirmation is not about teaching you everything but about teaching you what you will be confessing before the Church.
You see Confirmation from a Lutheran perspective is standing before the congregation and confirming what God promised to do to you in your baptism. God promised you in our baptism that he would bring you and conform you to himself. He would connect you forever with Jesus. You are standing before God and the congregation and proclaiming you believe in the one who saved you. You are confirming your baptism is at work in you through the work of the Holy Spirit. We have you study the scriptures so you know what that means. Our prayer is you grow in faith more and more. You study the scriptures daily. We pray you come to God’s house to hear his grace for you in the company of other believers, and when offered, receive the body and blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.
As a dad that promise to walk with my daughter didn’t stop. I will continue to challenge her to be faithful to what she confessed. I will remind her of her baptism, continue to bring her to God’s house and remind her to partake of Jesus. She is a major part of the family of Christ.
So for those of you who are reading this and haven’t been to Church, opened your Bible or received the sacrament since confirmation I invite you back. I invite you to remember the words of Jesus that worked in your heart that day so many years ago. I remind you of the promise of Jesus who is going after the one lost sheep. You are love and forgiven. In your baptism he claimed you and wants you to return.
For those reading this who have someone they love who has walked away from all this, I invite you to walk beside them. To love and care for them enough to want to see them come back to this faith they confessed.
So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 10:26-33 ESV