Since February, I have spent my Sunday afternoons with our Confirmation class. Each week, I have spent time with three young people exploring their faith and their relationship with God. I have to say that it is one of the processes that I enjoy participating in. I have led and participated in more classes than I can recall. We have our young people go through the process, but once in a while I think it would be a good process for adults to go through confirmation again. The way that they may talk about their faith or their relationship with God can be refreshing and also helpful in looking at it in a new way.
I remind the young people that at the end of the process they need to be able to answer a few questions.
Is it your desire to be a member of this church? This is one of the easier questions. If we are truly the church, it should be home for them. Church should be the place where they feel welcomed and included. Church should be the place where they experience the love of God and a place where they can grow in their faith and relationship with God.
Do you trust and rely on God? This can be the difficult one. Do you really trust and rely on God? As we explored this question, it was interesting to hear their perception. What does it mean to rely on someone? The dictionary says that rely means “to depend confidently; put trust in.” When asked about who they rely on, they knew they could rely on family and friends, but God didn’t make the list.
The reality is that young people learn from the example that we set for them. Do we lead a life that demonstrates that we rely on God? When we have problems in our life, where do we turn? Do we rely on God or do we turn to other sources? When you have a problem, do you talk to God about it? When you have a big decision to make, who do you ask for advice? Do you pray about it? Do you turn to scripture for guidance?
I once heard a story about a children’s sermon. On this particular Sunday, the pastor was using squirrels for an object lesson on industry and preparation. He started out by saying, “I’m going to describe something, and I want you to raise your hand when you know what it is.” The children nodded eagerly.
“This thing lives in trees (pause) and eats nuts (pause)…” No hands went up. “And it is gray (pause) and has a long bushy tail (pause)…” The children were looking at each other, but still no hands raised. “And it jumps from branch to branch (pause) and chatters and flips its tail when it’s excited (pause)…”
Finally one little boy tentatively raised his hand. The pastor breathed a sigh of relief and called on him. “Well…,” said the boy, “I know the answer must be Jesus…but is sure sounds like a squirrel to me!”
We all know the right answer is Jesus. We all know that we can rely on God, but do we actually live a life that demonstrates it to the world around us, and especially to our young people. As you go about your week, think about the ways that remind yourself of the importance of God in your life.
This message from the Pastor Martha also appears in The Covenanter Volume XXXVII, Issue 8