This is an exciting week in the life of Presbyterian Church of Madison!
Not only is it Youth Sunday and the annual Church Picnic, it is the Sunday of the Pentecost (the birth of the church as in the book of Acts) and it is Confirmation Sunday.
This year, 13 of our middle school students came most Sundays after church to spend time learning about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. How do they impact our world, our lives, who we are? Do they still impact our lives today? If so, how?
They have been wrestling with the tough questions and now the time has come for all that work to pay off. Confirmation Sunday is this Sunday when we will welcome them into full membership of Presbyterian Church of Madison. They are full voting members, they can be elected to serve on session as Elders, they can be elected as Deacons, and they now have both voice and vote in all Congregational matters.
Interestingly enough, while this may feel like a “graduation,” it’s not. It’s really the signal of the end of the beginning. They have the background, the foundation, the source material to answer the hard questions, not the least of which is:
Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior?
That’s the only question we officially answer in order to be a member of the Presbyterian church. That’s it. All full members have answered it. But what a hard question!
I tend to think that we spend the rest of our lives answering that question. Confirming, denying, confirming, denying—because that’s what we do. So, I’ve warned them—that’s what they will do.
One of the things they are also required to do is write a statement of faith in their own words that answers these questions: What I think about God. What I think about Jesus. What I think about the Holy Spirit. Think “Apostles’ Creed.”
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy *catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen. (*catholic in lower case means “universal.”)
We say it a lot in church, so I know you’re familiar with it. I gave it to our students to use as a reference point. And they wrote their own just for the exercise.
So, I wonder what you might say. What do you think about God? What do you think about Jesus? What do you think about the Holy Spirit? And what would you say?
I’m going to take all of their statements and put them in a blender and create an Affirmation of Faith that we will use going forward in our worship. It turns out to be pretty amazing—come this Sunday to see and hear! Come see them confirmed and they will lead us in their affirmation of faith for the first time. I know it will be amazing! Come and see for yourself in church on Sunday!
Just for fun, here’s the one from our Confirmation Class of 2017:
We believe God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit love all humanity, no matter what. They are everlasting—always with us, always creating, always feeling, and always listening. God is the creator of Earth and all life as we know it. God sent Jesus to be God in human form. Jesus shows us how to live and care for each other in the power of God’s love, compassion, healing, forgiveness, and understanding even when we make mistakes. Fully human and fully God—Jesus lived, suffered, and died for our sins so God feels joy, pain, suffering, and death as we do. Jesus rose from the dead to prove God’s power over everything. The Holy Spirit is the energy of God that gives us strength, confidence, and is always with us wherever we are. It is God’s power and love in action and the wave of hope for all the human race. Amen.
I know! Pretty amazing, right?
Come celebrate with our students this Sunday and relive your confirmation.
Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior?
I’m just askin’…
Grace and peace,