Summary: A sermon addressed to the parents of young people (ninth graders)being confirmed - urging them to lead by example as their children fulfill their promises as disciples.
Hillsborough Reformed Church at Millstone
May 7, 2006 Easter IV
“What Not to Neglect”
So we have finally arrived at your confirmation day! Wow! Most of you have been going to Sunday School your whole lives. You have moved from upstairs where you sat in the pews for the opening of Sunday School. You were so short your feet didn’t even reach the floor. You learned special songs, gave to the compassion offering, sang Happy Birthday sometimes, and were led with the love of dedicated teachers and with the smile and good cheer of Mrs. Hartzog and Mrs. Webb. Others of you came from other churches. You remember well some of the teachers and leaders there. You moved up through the grades of Sunday School and were at last ready for confirmation. You sat through over two dozen classes with me, did CAPS projects, went on a retreat, ate pizza with your mentor and were biting you nails as your elder examination drew near. You all passed!
Now it is confirmation Sunday and your parents and other family members are here, people who love you. Your teachers look on you with pride. I am proud of you!
You are fulfilling in your own life right now those wonderful things talked about in Hebrews…22let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds,
Every adult in the church appreciates your newness…there is purity about you because of your youth and your taking your place for the very first time as adult members of the church. Maybe you don’t feel it, but trust me, we all feel it about you. You have been cleansed and purified in Jesus Christ. You are brand spanking new! And we are all celebrating that.
I have been doing this a long time – longer than I’ll say, and on Confirmation Sunday, I usually try to give an inspiring and relevant sermon, the upshot of which is that you should live out your faith in the church. I hope you will!
But this morning I want to do something different. I want to address your parents.
I would usually tell our children to fulfill the vows they made this morning, but they know that. When next Sunday rolls around, what will happen? There may be a “yippee! I don’t have to go to confirmation class.”
But will your child be in church next Sunday? Or let’s say at least one of the next two Sundays. I would normally exhort them, but it occurs to me that we as parents (I have a confirmand here too this morning) can either make it easy for them to go to church or make it hard for them to go to church.
Let me explain. I think most of these ten next week will not be in church. Some will, but not most, I suspect. What will your role be next Sunday at 9:30 AM?
Will you be making it easy for them to go to church, or hard?
That is, will you be coming to church. If YOU are coming, it will be easier for them to be here. If you do NOT come, you are making it VERY hard for them to get here….you are radically reducing their motivation.
Church is just about the last thing left that is truly voluntary.
And let me say here I want to thank every parent of a confirmand in this year’s class and praise your efforts. You made sure they were confirmed. That is no small thing and not always easy. You rearranged schedules and put off things you’ve wanted to do. Everyone of you made contributions to the confirmation effort. What you have done this year is far more significant than you can imagine. You have taught your child that our faith is very, very important – and it is a lesson they will carry right through to the last day of their lives when they go to meet our loving God.
It annoys me no end when I hear that a coach has told one of our young people that if they miss practice for some church involvement, then they cannot play in a game or they are off the team. Excuse me?
In the scheme of things, what is greater, a soccer practice or service to king of the universe?
There’s no contest!
I have long believed that if we Protestants (because the Roman Catholic priests DO stand up to schedulers of things on the Lord’s Day) would all just join in saying no to any activities on Sunday mornings, they’d stop in a heartbeat! We have some of the best players in our churches! If coaches knew NONE of them were coming, you can be sure they’d reschedule. But one family here or there can’t make that difference.