Last Monday evening was not the first time.
And, I trust, even hope, it will not be the last time.
Something you said to Kathy and to me last Monday struck home and made me stop and think. It took a little while for what you said to sink in, but eventually it did. Here is what I heard in our conversation together as we wrapped up the year and talked about our time together in Confirmation. One of the things you appreciated was the opportunity to think and to talk about the topics and ideas we did.
About how we imagine and think about and talk about God?
And about where and how Christianity fits in with other religious traditions.
And where all that fits in with your life.
And, about the values connected to our faith and the values which are important to you?
And, about what those values mean for how we live?
For how you treat others.
And for how you make decisions and think about the world in which we live?
I get all that.
That is what Kathy and I hope Confirmation is about.
But then you added this.
What you said to us is there are not very many, if any, other times or places in your life where those type of topics come up and are openly and honestly talked about – values, faith, what you believe, what is important to you. Times and places where you have an opportunity and the challenge to put words around what you are thinking and feeling and to listen to others do the same. And, while fitting one more thing into your schedule of school and homework and sports and whatever else was sometimes hard, I had the sense that, for the most part, you found the conversations we had important and meaningful.
Which brings me to this.
A thousand times in the next several years, people are going to ask you what you think you might like to do. What classes you might like to take? What college you may want to attend. What career you might want to pursue? But, few people, if any, will ask you, with the same level of seriousness and interest, what type of person you want to be?
Someone who makes a difference.
Someone who does their best to do what is right even when doing the right thing is hard.
Then, having asked you that first question, ask you what you need to learn and where you are going to go to practice so those qualities and characteristics and values become more and more a part of your life.
Our conversation last Monday made me think about this.
Maybe that is why you found Confirmation meaningful.
We talked about things you don’t have a chance to talk about anywhere else.
Maybe behind our drawing pictures of God and your being encouraged to read the Bible more as poetry than a textbook and talking about what it means to believe in something…
Maybe behind all those conversations was the question…
What type of person do you want to be?
What are you going to believe in/put your trust in that is going to guide and to shape your life?
What values will be important to you no matter what profession you chose to pursue?
For me, all the things we talked about – God and Jesus and faith and church – all have something to do with how you and I respond to those questions.
So, let me leave you with this.
The verses from the Bible I selected for this morning which Olivia read a moment ago are about our being the light of the world. You being the light of the world. So, whatever ever else you do – business person, teacher, race car driver, athlete, dancer, whatever – work on being that. A light to others.