Confirmation 2015 - Garden Lessons
I always find the weeks after Confirmation Sunday a bit difficult. Ramping up to the big day is a flurry of activity. Elders meet individually with the 37 members of the class, the entire Session meets with the entire class, while all the details and moving parts of Confirmation Sunday itself have to be planned, rehearsed, and carried out. Yet the young people always rise to the occasion. Their thoughtful work throughout the year takes shape as they stand before the congregation making their promises and as they help lead worship.
I go home that Sunday relieved, and yet I go home a bit sad and a bit concerned. We have amazing young people in this church, and by the end of the year, I miss gathering with them. I miss their questions and their curiosity. I miss hearing about their lives and their views of the world.
And I worry. Did they get it? Did the message of God’s grace and God’s call upon their lives sink in and take root. Will they drift away from church? Will the little seeds of faith be choked out by the many concerns they carry? Will they truly step into the promises they made and take ownership over their own growth in faith?
I hope, and I pray. And I take heart by watching my own backyard gardens – freshly tilled and planted with seeds the week of confirmation. For days I walk the gardens after that first planting. But beyond watering as needed, there really isn’t anything to be done. I watch. I wait. I hope. As gardeners, we turn control over to something beyond ourselves, a process beyond our ability to manage. We have faith. And in their own unique time, we are rewarded with a glimpse of green breaking through the soil, headed upward.
In truth, there were many glimpses of green throughout the year of confirmation. There were discussions in which one could see the gears turning and the lights going on in their minds. There were their amazing and often beautiful statements of faith that they wrote and presented to their elder – reminders that much has already taken root within them.
On Confirmation Sunday they joined this much larger community of faith, all committed to tending one another and committed to continued growth in faith – watering, thinning, pruning, fertilizing – committed to putting ourselves more fully into the hands of God, and trusting that God will continue to be the gardener of all our souls.
This summer I encourage you to consider your own confirmations, and the promises each of us have made to God and to one another. What steps can we take in these quieter weeks to tend our souls and to reconnect with the Spirit of God?
While we will move into the air-conditioning of Crawford Chapel in July, Sunday worship and church school continue throughout the summer. For those of you who have never been, the 8:30 a.m. service is a briefer service with the same sermon as at 10, but that also includes gathering for spiritual nourishment at the communion table each week. At 10 o’clock, the children are in worship for part of the hour and then have fun, creative lessons in a more intimate setting all summer long.
Together with the confirmation class, this summer and beyond, let us seek to be faithful disciples wherever we may go, looking for the green of God’s work sprouting up all around us!