If you’ve ever run a short distance race the starter gives certain specific commands: “On your mark…Get ready…Set….Go!” It’s important to be in tune with the starter and run the race all the way to the finish line. Of course, there’s a problem if we never start or aren’t ready or don’t finish.
St. Paul compared the Christian life to a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). It begins when God calls us through his Word (Matthew 5:18-22). We are then made ready (justified/made right) in the waters of baptism as we are buried into Christ’s death (forgiven) and raised to a new life through faith in the resurrected Christ (Romans 6:3-10). The readiness for this race is a lengthy process of being equipped (Ephesians 4:11-13), but then there eventually comes a time when we’re set to finally GO! “To “go” into the mission God is sending us on is the goal of God’s calling in our lives.
This coming Reformation Sunday we have four young people who have been called, baptized and have been given some very basic readiness training. We call this process “confirmation” and it focuses on helping young people grow in relationship with Christ and his people through Bible training and learning the most important teachings of our faith (Small Catechism).
On Sunday each of these young people will share where they are at in their faith walk. As a congregation we will then bless them. This blessing is not a way of telling them that they’re done the race, but is an expression of our support in the ongoing journey of training.
Are they set? Are they ready to GO? I could say “yes” and “no.” Yes, they’re ready to enter into more training. And no, they’re not ready to GO. God has much more to prepare them for the mission he has planned for them.
We would never expect grade nine students to know what they’re going to do with their lives. We would not tell them they’re done with school or kick them out of the house. In the same way our young people are still young and they don’t need less of the church and God, but more of it than ever.
So I invite you to be there this Sunday, dressed in the red of Reformation and prepared to bless our young people in running the race with us.
– Pastor Tim
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