Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
Every day I pray for life to return to normal and for this pandemic to simply become a bad nightmare that we will awaken from so we can get on with the joys and hopes of a new day. In some ways perhaps that is slowly happening as we resume activities at church; yet, in many other ways things are not back too normal, nor anywhere close, as we continue to fight the variants of Covid-19. We must continue to be appropriately cautious in our daily lives so that we can continue to be safe as we worship and share the kingdom of God with others.
On Sunday, September 12th, our Sunday School program opened for the 2021-2022 year. We hope our young children, teenagers, and adults will take part in this very important church program. Sunday School is the time when we learn the Bible stories and have a chance to talk about them openly as we come to understand God is a loving and forgiving, as well as coming to know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We are never too young, nor too old, to study and learn from God’s Holy Word.
Also, on Sunday, September 12th, this year’s confirmation class began. We have five students who will be studying Luther’s Small Catechism and many other things “Lutheran.” Ours is a two-year program where young adults prepare themselves to profess their Christian faith and knowledge of Jesus as Lord and Savior. Sometimes people will view confirmation ministry as a box that needs to be checked as they grow up. If that were all confirmation was, I believe we could teach it in a month and be done with it. Rather, confirmation is a process, a journey, where a young person studies, memorizes, discusses, and learns what it means to move beyond being a child member of the Church to being an active, professing Christian whose heart is set on fire with a desire to praise and worship God, proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior, and share that news with everyone we meet. While confirmation formally lasts two years, in truth the process of confirming our faith lasts our entire life. These two years are the process where we begin to build the foundation for living a Christian life.
This morning at our Lutheran Men Prayer Breakfast we discussed everyone’s memories of their confirmation classes. After we had the opportunity to share our experiences, this is what our memories revealed: 1) we all grew up and attended confirmation at a time when the value of learning about Christ was not in question. The importance of being in confirmation was known and accepted. 2) While our individual experiences were different, everyone recognized that it was in confirmation where the foundation of our faith, the building blocks of our faith, had been established. These building blocks had become a foundation for us that helped sustain each of us through a number of difficulties and hard times in life. 3) Some in the group revealed that if they had been given the choice, they might not have attended or completed confirmation classes. But then every one of us acknowledged that we were glad it hadn’t been left up to us. We were glad we had completed our confirmation classes. Sometimes, teenagers and young adults can’t see the ultimate value of what older and wiser adults are offering them.
As I write this article for our October Herald, I want to challenge all of us, children, teenagers, young adults, adults, and parents to make every effort to do everything we can to bring our children and ourselves before Jesus so we can learn about God’s love and forgiveness, His purpose for our lives, and His gift of a Savior so that we might spend eternity in his Kingdom with Him. We are all children as we come before God – we are all God’s children. Let us do everything we can to bring our children to Jesus, so we can help provide them the foundational building blocks of a Christian faith. And let us join them. After all, aren’t we always building a foundation for our faith? And isn’t that foundation what we will build our lives upon?
We’re not checking boxes so we can move on or away from the Christian faith. What we are doing is creating the building blocks that will become the foundation upon which our entire lives will be lived. Let’s do everything we can to make certain we all receive this gift from God.
I write to you as one child of God to other children of God.
Pastor Butler +