Wasn’t this weekend gorgeous? One of the things I love doing when the weather is nice is going on a drive, and on Saturday morning I got to take a beautiful drive up to Fountain Run, Kentucky, where a group of confirmands and their mentors were gathering for their final retreat.
I just spent a few hours with them up there, but even in that short time I experienced amazing love and connection and joy. When I arrived, they were divided up into small groups, working on writing a creed together. I watched these groups of adults and children sharing ideas, laughing together and talking about their faith, and my first thought was, “This is what Christian relationship is all about. This is what church is meant to be.”
Whenever a baby is baptized in our congregation, the congregation takes a vow to love, support and pray for that child. Actually, what we say is: “We will surround this child with a community of love and forgiveness, that they may grow in their trust of God and be found faithful in their service to others. We will pray for them, that they may be true disciples who walk in the way that leads to life.”
These young people going through confirmation have been surrounded with a community of love and forgiveness. From everyone who has taught them Sunday School to the mentors who have walked with them for the past eight months, they have been nurtured, loved and encouraged in their faith.
Going back to that baptismal covenant, when a child is baptized, his or her parents are asked the following question: “Will you nurture this child in Christ’s holy church, that by your teaching and example they may be guided to accept God’s grace for themselves, to profess their faith openly, and to lead a Christian life?”
On Sunday morning at the 11:00 service, these dedicated confirmands will be “accepting God’s grace for themselves and professing their faith openly.” They will be confirmed as disciples of Jesus Christ and as members of the church. This is a huge moment for them and for our congregation! I hope you can be there. And if you can’t be there, I hope you will pray for them, will write notes of support to them or will find other ways to encourage them.
From what I have seen in this group of young people, they understand a lot about what it means to love God and love their neighbors. They really do love each other, and they want to make a difference in God’s world. To put it another way, they know what it means to be in relationship with Christ, with one another and with God’s world. They have learned that from you. May all of us continue to learn together what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ, and may we welcome joyfully our newest companions on the journey!