Sermon: School's Out

03 June 2007

The Rev. Jennifer Whipple
Congregational Church of Brookfield (UCC)
June 3, 2007

Confirmation Sunday

School's Out 

Colossians 2:6-7

Prayer:   “May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts and minds be acceptable to you,
O Lord, our strength and our redeemer.  Amen.”

Confirmation Sunday…

            Each year Confirmation Sunday brings me back to memories of my own Confirmation…a day that does not ring overly pleasant in my memory bank.  I had to wear a white dress, and serving communion I spilled grape juice on it and 80-something-year-old Bill Boyce who was very sweet about the whole thing.  And at the time it seemed so tragic.  But now that we are here on this Confirmation Sunday I can say two things thinking back to that day.  First, to the Confirmands, you should be happy that we leave the communion serving to the deacons.  And second, what was most important about that day was not whether or not I served communion perfectly, but rather that I confirmed my faith in front of God and my home church congregation—as you have today.  I had the chance to stand in front of people who cared about me and wanted to get to know me as a young adult, and I had the chance to make promises to my faith community.  I had the chance to make the adult decision to confirm my faith and also to become a member of the church.  What is more important still is following the message in the scripture lesson from Colossians that Kyle read for us.

            Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”  You see as you confirm your faith in Jesus Christ it takes more than just saying the words, making the promises.  It takes living your life in faith – living the lessons we have learned and you all have studied so intently this year.  It means sharing your faith, as well as your time, talent, and treasure in community.  Knowing that God stands beside us when we are in need…kind of like it says in the often referenced “Footprints” poem or in the rewrites of Psalm 23 that you all had to do in Confirmation Class.  It means rejoicing in the many blessings that God gifts us with.  Asking questions of our faith, growing in our faith, living out our faith.

            I have really enjoyed getting to know each of you throughout this year.  I know that for some of you throughout this year it has been important to know that God stands beside you in your need or in difficult times.  We have spent time in rejoicing together, time in joking – creating nicknames, playing games – whether Encore & Apples to Apples or “Images of God Pictionary” & “Bible Jeopardy.”  We have spent time getting to know each other and the other young people throughout the state who were experiencing their confirmation process as well.  I have listened to your stories, opinions, and questions--hopefully helped to point you in the right direction to find your own answers, and grown in my faith along with you.  I have enjoyed listening to all of you share your faith, and I have enjoyed seeing the many gifts that each of you has.

            There is another translation of the scripture that says the following, “My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given.  You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live in him.  You’re deeply rooted in him.  You’re well constructed upon him.  You know your way around the faith.  Now do what you’ve been taught.  School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it!  And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.”

            My prayers for all of you today, and for each and every one of us, are that you will continue to grow in your faith.  That you will continue to ask the questions that keep faith alive, continue to be seekers, continue to listen to each other and to others here in this community and to make new decisions about your faith as you grow.  That you will live out your faith in love and service to others.  That you will enjoy spending time here, sharing your gifts. 

            Brittany, Matt, Jackie, Jen, Kevin, Hannah, Robbie, Steffie, Kyle, Sam, Brandon, Cody, Mike, Emily and Mark, show all of the people here in this community the wonderful young people you are…the wonderful young adults that I have had the chance to get to know, to see grow in faith, to share jokes and moments both frustrating and wonderful with.  You have grown together in your own community as the confirmation class of 2007.  So now I say, “School’s Out.”  For whatever reason you decided to accept the offer to be a part of the confirmation class this year, and there were various reasons, you have made it.  You have worked hard.  You have explored your faith, worked to build relationships with one another, with me, and with your wonderful mentors. Give thanks to God for getting you through this process-- another step along your lifelong journey of faith—during this busy freshman year.  Now go and live the subject…live out your faith in our world, be an important and involved part of this community of faith, give us the gift of sharing your faith and yourself with all of us. 

 Praise be to God for the amazing blessings we have been afforded in this community.  Blessings to you all on this day and as you continue to live and grow in your faith in this place and beyond.  Amen.

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