Let us pray: O Lord, You are the Rock of our Salvation. You are the immoveable object upon which we can always rely, and who will be never swept away by the floodwaters of life. Today we rejoice over the faith of these two young men who are being confirmed. We also rejoice over the fact that when we turn to You with humble hearts and confess You as our Savior, Your strength becomes our reality. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR GLORIOUS LORD AND SAVIOR!
TEXT: Matthew 7: 24-27
Dearly Beloved By Christ, and Especially You, Justin and Tim:
On Monday night I flew out to MN to attend our synod convention. It was an interesting trip. Huge storms had erupted in the Midwest. I flew into them. It was a bumpy ride and the last 40 minutes were much like riding the roller-coaster at Canobie Lake. I thought: “I’m glad I’m not piloting the plane! Thank God for military trained pilots!” The 80 mile ride to Mankato by car was also interesting. Little rain came down as the storm was just south of me. But 50 mile per hour wind buffeted the car and lightening lit up the sky all the way. I really didn’t worry, though, as I knew that God was in control and not me.
Today you’re confessing with all of us, that God is control of your life, too. And what a God! He’s the Maker of all things. He’s the only God Who even exists. More specifically, Jesus Christ, His Son Who laid down His life to save our souls, is in direct control of your life. Your Brother loves you more than His own skin! He proved it by dying in your place and then rising to a new life in order to give you that same newness of life!
Today is your confirmation day. Today is a new pathway on your lifelong faith journey. This little excerpt from today’s Gospel will assist you on that journey. So, let’s examine it by considering:
DON’T TURN YOUR ROCK INTO SAND!
Minneapolis has had over 25 inches of rain this June to date. Mankato, where I was, has had more. My hotel was on the Minnesota river and from my 4th floor room I could look out at it. It’s at flood stage. It’s a good thing a huge cement dike protects the downtown, otherwise, everything would be under water. The rock-like cement protects the town.
You and I have an even greater Rock to protect us, as long as we build our faith upon Him. That Rock is Jesus Christ. His truths about how to live a blessed life and die a blessed death will never fail us. You’ve learned those truths in confirmation classes. You’ve learned the commandments along with all the other key parts of His truth. Today you formally begin building your life upon them. “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
You’re unique. Most people you know and meet build their lives on the sand of human ideas, good intentions, and popular culture. Then they lie to their conscience and think that God is pleased with their attempts to live either apart from Him or with Him as an afterthought to their decision making. In His sermon on the Mount Jesus addresses this with a parable: “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
One of the key phrases here is: “hearing the words and putting them into practice.” I’ve confirmed many young people just like you. They all went to class for a couple of years. They all learned the same questions, answers, and passages that you have. They all were able to recite from memory those same words of Christ. But, sad to say, many of them have failed to put them into practice. They drifted from church. They let drugs or alcohol control their lives. They let relationships with others that precedence over allegiance to their Lord. In essence, many of them were “sand builders.” And just as Christ foretold, many of them have had some nasty crashes. Don’t let be you! Don’t turn your rock into sand….
Being a confessing, practicing Christian is hard work. Going to church and feeding on God’s strength has a host of obstacles. For you they come in the shape of: school sports on Sunday morning, the fact that church isn’t cool to many of your friends, schedules that are way too hectic which makes you tired come Sunday, and pressure from teachers who delight in attacking God stuff, like the 10 commandments. As you get older these pressures get greater. College is often a huge faith destroyer. Most people there and most teachers are not Christians and delight in painting a picture for you of how silly and outmoded your faith is. Sand, sand, and more sand.
It takes a very strong person to be a Christian in modern America. It takes a very strong character to stand up to these pressures. You have the basics, the rocks upon which to build that strength, so today Christ tells you to put all of those rocks to good use. And the very best way of doing so is to come regularly to Church, feed your faith, and thereby be re-cemented, weekly, into Christ, the Rock of our salvation!
The Minnesota river is running dark, brown, and muddy right now. It has washed away more sandy dirt than you can imagine. It has also washed away crops, houses, and lives. Building upon the sand of hip culture or letting popular appeal control your life will bring your faith and your soul to a similar end—falling with a great crash. Unfortunately, you cannot get on a plane and jet away from such a crash, either. So, continue to stay cemented to Jesus. For He alone, is the bedrock of a blessed life that will never be overwhelmed by any floodwaters in any form.
In closing, we received a thank you note from our great nephew, Evan, after his confirmation earlier this Spring. It reads: “Thank you for the card and money. I will always follow the path of the Lord.” That sums up confirmation quite well.