Saturday, February 16, 2013

confirmation a road less traveled

Presbyterian 8th-grade youth and their mentors gather for prayer
Presbyterian 8th-grade youth and their mentors gather for prayer
Wednesday evening at First Presbyterian Church of Brandon turned out to be the perfect entry point into our observance of Lent.
I stood in the front of the church, playing prelude music on my acoustic guitar, and watched as so many faithful people made their way into the sanctuary; worshippers taking a deviation from their Wednesday routines to spend intentional time in the presence of God and to make the commitment to walk the dusty road to Jerusalem with Jesus.
On one side of the church a crowd of teens gathered to show their solidarity with the 8th grade youth who have signed up for confirmation classes. Rebekah gave each of them a Bible and read the scripture she had picked out as their companion for the journey. Ten young people, ten unique passages.
Sharing scripture
Sharing scripture
STANDING IN LOVE WITH JESUS: Confirmation is often put down by those who value other valid traditions, such as “The Decision,” or a stylized emotional “moment” followed by baptism by immersion.
But such judgment is simply ignorance and narrow-mindedness talking. Fact is, the confirmation experience our young people are engaging isn’t a series of irrelevant, stuffy lectures – rather it’s a week-by-week faith journey between Ash Wednesday and Pentecost, full with instruction and prayer and discussion and projects and study and meetings with their mentors.
Confirmation is a road-less-travelled, much like the observance of Lent, and it concludes with the invitation to follow Jesus and make a public declaration of faith. Not every young person will be ready to say “Yes” to Jesus and join the church when the classes are completed; there is a decision to be made and it’s a decision that’s every bit as significant as an invitation to “Raise your hand, come to the front, and pray the sinner’s prayer.”
I HAVE DECIDED: In fact, thinking about this journey of faith I’m inviting my readers to take through these six-weeks of Lent, there’s a decision waiting for all of us and it comes on a day-to-day schedule.
@[696483709:2048:Derek Maul] - the precipiceOne day, responding to the “anti-confirmation” skepticism of a man who questioned, derisively, “You probably couldn’t tell me the exact time and place you made the decision to follow Jesus..,” Rebekah famously replied, “I asked Jesus into my life at around 7:00 this morning, just about the time Derek brought me my first cup of coffee. I’ve been asking Jesus into my life every day for decades, and I plan on making the decision to follow Jesus, daily, every new morning I’m blessed to draw breath.”
So what’s your decision? - DEREK

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