Nick and Lydia, what I want to say this morning is primarily to you.
Everyone else can listen in.
There is a verse in Christian scripture which begins like this:
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…
In a moment that cloud of witness who gather here today in this place as Bedford Presbyterian Church will surround you with both their presence and their prayers. We are not perfect. We don’t have all the answers. But we do try to ask the right questions. Like with our lives as they are and the world as it is what does it mean to love God and to love our neighbors, and to treat others the way we would like to be treated if we were in their shoes? What does it mean to be the light of the world?
If you forget everything else about today I would ask you to remember this.
We are here with you and for you.
Celebrating who you uniquely are.
And, with you, asking questions and reaching for answers and understanding.
And, walking with you as we do our best to follow Jesus.
So if you forget everything else…
Or, when life gets hard…
Or, when you are not sure what to think or what to believe or if God or faith has a place in your life and world, may you remember today and this moment. And always have a sense of this community which cares about you and for you and which adds its faith to yours.
But along with that there are two other things I want to say to you today.
The first is an affirmation. The second is a reminder.
The affirmation comes from the Statements of Faith which you wrote.
And that is, God is and God everywhere.
God is with you and with us. God is within each and all of us. Yet, while we all have images of who or what God is, God is also more than we can ever fully know or name. Lydia, you are right. God is that presence you feel when you walk in the woods or marvel at the complexity and beauty and miracle of life. Nick you are right. God is that presence which helps you find or maintain a balance in your life. When life gets crazy or you get pulled in a hundred different directions, God is that reminder of that which is most important. God is wrapped up in those moments when you know love or have your breath taken away by beauty or when hope gives you the courage to stand up for what you know to be right. God is there when forgiveness heals broken relationships and in the support and care extended in times of need. God is a part of that which inspires your dreams and your vision of a better tomorrow.
That is what you wrote. And I believe all that is true.
And now, this reminder.
I hope you remember God is not just a noun, but also a verb.
Not just presence, but action.
The question to ask is not just who or what is God.
The question to ask is what does God do?
If we can identify that…if you can name that and know that…then you and we can better understand how we are called to act and what we are called to do. This is where all those stories in the Bible come into play.
They provide a snapshot of that action.
A picture of what God as a verb looks like.
The list goes on.
As I shared with you in a conversation we had one Sunday evening, here is what I believe. Any time we do any of those things I just mentioned, we stand close to God and our lives move in the direction of God’s Kingdom come. So, remember this. God is not just a presence, something you feel or experience or know. God is also a verb. Something you do.
So, Lydia and Nick…
Here you are at the end of Confirmation and at the beginning of the next part of the journey surrounded by this great cloud of witnesses who do their best to follow Jesus. We add our faith to yours just as you add your faith to ours. Welcome.
And, continued blessings for both of you.