Congregational Church of Brookfield (UCC)
Third Sunday After Pentecost
June 1, 2008
A Children's Sermon for Confirmation Sunday
Did you know it’s Confirmation Sunday? All this year our 9th graders have been meeting in Monday night classes to learn more about their faith, and the church. They’ve gone on some field trips and retreats together, and they’ve each done a special project for the church. When they met with me, and with our Deacons, last month, I challenged them to come up with a good sermon title. And I said that, as a Confirmation present, I’d preach each of them a sermon on their topic this summer. So today it’s Confirmation Sunday, and my sermon is …(pulling frozen waffles out of grocery bag) “Waffles,” thanks to Jonathan Gianazza. I think he probably thought I couldn’t come up with a sermon about waffles, because there is no mention of waffles anywhere in the Bible -- unless somebody wants to dispute that! But I’m going to try. First, I want to talk a little more about confirmation.
“Confirmation” actually has several different meanings. We usually think of it in terms of science, like when you do an experiment to be sure of something – you might have tested a hypothesis, which is an idea you have about the way something works. I had a friend whose 3-year-old son was a scientist already. He got up very early one Saturday morning to watch cartoons, while his parents were still in bed sleeping. Any of you ever do that? Well, as it happens, after a while, he started to get a little bit hungry for breakfast. So he went into the kitchen to see what there might be to eat. He saw boxes of dry cereal on the counter. There was some cold leftover oatmeal in the refrigerator. There was bread over by the toaster. He wanted something warm for breakfast, but he knew he wasn’t supposed to ever put anything in the toaster. His parents had warned him about how dangerous it was, because it had electricity inside it. And then he remembered something, and he came up with a scientific hypothesis that he wanted to test. Sometimes when he took a videotape out of the VCR it felt warm. So he got an idea. He had a theory he wanted to confirm. Want to guess what he tried? (Waffles?)
No, but he probably wished that they had some of these delicious waffles in his freezer. But he just had toast and cereal, and he was in the mood for oatmeal. So he shoveled a few spoonfuls of cold oatmeal in the slot and waited. He pushed the eject button but nothing popped out. Do you think his theory was confirmed? Was the VCR an effective oatmeal-warmer? No. That’s when he realized he was probably in trouble. So, even though he was scared, he went down the hall to his parents’ bedroom to test another theory. He guessed that if he begged for forgiveness, they would help him clean up his mess, and that they would still love him. Do you think that theory was confirmed?
OK, so how do we CONFIRM the love of God? How can we “confirm” a belief? Jesus said God was his Heavenly Father, OUR Heavenly Father, and that God loves us no matter what, no matter how stupid we are and how bad we mess up our lives. How could we ever confirm that? It’s very hard to come up with scientific proof of God’s grace, or about anything else when it comes to our faith. What we have instead, are not TESTS of faith, like in science, but the Bible – which contains stories, or TESTIMONIES of faith. Testimonies are stories told by people about what happened to them, and what they saw and heard and felt and believed. Do you know who Matthew was? He wrote the first book of the New TESTAMENT, which is a book of testimonies about Jesus and the early church. Matthew’s Gospel tells the Good News of Jesus. Today’s Bible lesson is one where Jesus talks about doing what he told us to do, because it would be the best foundation to build our lives upon. Jonathan, would you read today’s Bible verses for us?
7:24-27) [Jesus said:]
24 ‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!’
I was thinking that maybe we could test this hypothesis of Jesus here today. But what would we need to be able to do that? Rock and sand, and things we’d need to build a house. Then we’d need something to be rain, and floodwaters – I don’t even think we would want us to do that as an experiment outside, in our beautiful outdoor chapel. And I know Church House Committee wouldn’t want us to do that inside; we’d make a big mess! But I thought if Jesus had frozen waffles to use as an example, he might have used them instead of sand, as something you would NOT want to use as the foundation of your house. See, it looks kind of like a block, doesn’t it? It’s pretty solid – it’s frozen. What do you think? Would waffles build a good house?
I bet waffles are not as strong as rock, and they don’t stay frozen, right? They get all soggy. Like sand, they change with the weather. They wouldn't do so well if they got wet. Would frozen waffles be something you’d like to build the foundation of your house with? Would a box of frozen waffles support your weight? (Try it) What about someone smaller? (Try it) Not so good, huh? Waffles are flimsy. Do you know what the word “waffle” means when a person “waffles” on a decision? Like, “I couldn’t decide between shorts and pants today, so I was waffling. I waffled so long I missed the school bus.”
So we don’t want our Confirmands to waffle about their faith in God. We want them to be strong – like a rock, like the Word of God in the Bible. Now what about my Bible? This is my Confirmation Bible, which I got way back in 1970 when I was confirmed. It looks strong and solid, but I want to disrespect a Bible by standing on it. What Jesus says is that we can stand confidently on what’s INSIDE the Bible: the promises of God. They are strong and firm and will stand up to any kind of weather – that’s what Jesus promises.
That’s what we pray for our Confirmands today. They can’t confirm their faith through science, but God can confirm their faith by making it stronger. Because we know that all their lives their faith will be tested – rain and winds of troubles will come and try to shake their beliefs. People will say that there is no God, because you can’t prove it with science. So they need us to pray for them today, for their Confirmation. We will pray that God will keep faith of our Confirmands rock solid strong, like a good foundation, for their whole lives long. We’re praying for the Holy Spirit to come into their lives with power, so that God’s will never let their faith falter. We’re praying or Jesus to keep his promise, the one he gave to his disciples at the very end of Matthew’s Gospel (28:20), “’And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’*”
Let us pray now before we go off to Sunday School: God, we thank you for the gift of your Word, and for the good people who teach it to us in Church School. Help us to learn, and keep us strong in our faith. Amen.
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