Isaiah 40:1-11

Psalm 85

2 Peter 3:8-14

Mark 1:1-8

 

“He Comes”

 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

 

I grew up watching Full House, and in that TV series I’ve come to love the character that Bob Saget plays as, the father figure, Danny Tanner. What I remember most about him is his cleaning practices. He would organize the whole household, much like a sergeant with a squad, in an intensive endeavor to conquer every piece of dust that may or may not catch his eye. He was basically your comedic clean freak. But I liked him because he reminded me of my own household that I grew up in. Unlike Danny Tanner of Full House, my mom was not that much a clean freak, but like him she did organize the family in an endeavor to conquer the dust of the house every week. And whereas she wasn’t as bad as Danny, my mom was very good at finding the not as clean spots in the house and demand that such area be recleaned once again. When it came to cleaning, she ruled the house with an iron… broom. So we made sure the house was always clean and thus always prepared. But, if guests were expected at the house, like clockwork, the household was galvanized into recleaning the house, even if we already cleaned it the day prior, just to make sure it is prepared.

 

We are told through scripture to always be prepared, to stay awake, and to always be on guard for you know not when the Lord will come. But today, we read about preparation in a new light; for the signs of the virgin birth, with angels and the star, have been revealed. In the past, the Israelites prepared because they know not when the Lord will come, but here the dark night has turned blue and the signs of the rising sun are evident, thus now the Israelites are preparing the royal highway.

 

It is like having the red carpet on standby. You know not when the celebrities will come, so you have the red carpet stored and ready. You don’t just unfurl it and leave it on the ground at all times. But the moment you hear that a celebrity comes, you go to the back room where the red carpet is stationed and unfurl it at the entrance.

 

The King is coming, He comes! And because we did not fall asleep, we are ready and prepared to begin setting the highway and making clear the path for the coming king. And what better way to prepare for the coming birth than to set up Christmas decorations? We have Christmas trees, lights, garland, poinsettias, and more. And today, as we play with the chimes once again we will be singing carols that reflect this week of preparation.

 

So once again, I ask for volunteers to help distribute one silver chime to each person, please start with the chimes with the stickers on the front. And if there are any left overs you may distribute the rest of the silver chimes. As for all of you, you may notice color dots have been stickered to your chimes. I figured it was hard to see my tiny fingers, so I prepared color coded stickers and paddles to help assist. So let’s test this out. But first, this is how you use chimes… All orange chimes! Now All red chimes! Now all blue chimes. Very good.

 

The first of our carols is a hymn of rejoice for though we have waited long Emmanuel comes, so let us sing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

 

Yes Emmanuel is coming, and because of this we prepare our houses and our communities and this church for His coming, to include putting up Christmas Trees. Fun fact about Christmas Trees, it is a very Lutheran Christmas practice for it was Martin Luther himself who started the practice of putting lights in pine trees for the season of Advent and Christmas. Speaking of Luther, do you know that he is also the one who created the Advent Wreath? But speaking of Christmas Trees and lights, well back then they didn’t have electricity so their lights were in the form of candles. Now imagine the look on Luther’s wife’s face, Katherine, when she saw Luther putting lit candles in a pine tree… Well, let us celebrate by singing, “O Christmas Tree.”

 

And while we are still jolly and gay, let us continue our singing about decorations and decking the Halls by singing, “Deck the Halls.”

 

Yes there is much to celebrate, for Jesus is coming, and know this to be true so we celebrate by preparing the royal highway and decorating. Now the birth has yet to happen, but it is coming very close, thus it would be amiss of us not to conclude by preemptively wishing each and every one of you a Merry Christmas. So let us conclude by singing, “We Wish you a Merry Christmas.”

 

I ask that you please leave your chimes in the pews, and after service I will collect and wipe down all our chimes.

 

Let us pray,

 

Dear Heavenly Father, Christmas is coming and rejoice for the coming Lord, thus we make our final preparations. As we deck the halls and put up Christmas Trees we ask that let us never forget the true purpose of Christmas, and that is the Birth of our Lord. In Your most holy name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Isaiah 63:16b-17; 64:1-8 

Psalm 80:1-7 

1 Corinthians 1:3-9 

Mark 13:33-37 

“Stay Awake” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

With a raise of hands, how many of you are Soldiers or  Veterans? Thank you for your service. Now keep your hand up if  you’ve had to conduct night guard. You may put your hands  down. It’s boring isn’t it? You weren’t kept awake because of  something that was indeed happening. You were awake because  of the potential of something happening. Now as night guards, I  can assume you weren’t night shift people who only worked  during the night, but your typical soldier who works throughout the  day, was slotted that night to be on guard only to work the  following day without any sleep. There is a potential, but you don’t  know if anything would happen that night. In fact, the night might  be so boring that would wish something entertaining would  happen that would help keep you awake but not hinder your duty.  Anything, maybe even a firefight again ambushing enemies, or a  visible casual stroller who is acting suspicious, or the dropping of  bombs. Anything to counter the dull wait. And as you wait, your  eyes starts to get droopy and every other minute you startle  awake. The struggle of staying awake during what may seem an  uneventful night is real. 

I don’t know anyone who likes to be put on night watch,  anyone who works also during the day that is. I certainly don’t like  it, but it   is necessary. Why? Because you never know what

might happen. Thus who cares if you don’t like it, the absolute necessity  outweighs the lack of convenience. Thus stay awake, be on  guard. 

During the time of the Israel Kings, the Babylonian Captivity,  and the post captivity, when Jerusalem was rebuilt, Israel was at  an indefinite stage of wake. They had faith in the promises God  provided for them, the coming mighty King. Some, most, did not  understand how this king would appear, but they had hope that he  would. They knew not when, nor how, nor where per se. But to those who opened Scripture, and were blessed with the Holy  Spirit, had their eyes opened to the reality that Christ was coming  and that Christ is here. But even during the days when Jesus  walked the earth, many were blinded to the truth and could not  fathom Jesus had arrived. They were in slumber. 

In the past, Israel waited and suffered long for the coming  king. They knew he would come, thus they were ever expecting  and anticipating his arrival. They were awake. But out of  misinterpretation and lackadaisicalness, eventually many in Israel  fell asleep. 

The Lord Comes, stay awake for you do not know when he  will come, stay on guard! Not everyone can stay on guard. It is  like sitting up in a watch tower through the middle of the night,  and the moment before the sky shifts from black to blue you fall  asleep and miss the coming Sun. So too, the coming Son of Man  caught many off guard for before the sky shifted colors towards  the darker shades of blue too many had already fallen asleep.

 

But to those who did stay awake, they saw the shifting blue  hues in the sky, the advent of a new day approach, the coming of  the rising son, the coming of the Son of Man, Son of God. Angels  preached and sang and gave warnings. Wise men had  revelations and marched across countries to see the birthed king.  A star was place above Bethlehem. Those who awaited long,  finally witnessed proof that the Lord was coming, for they never  fell asleep, they were on guard, expecting, anticipating, and their  patience was finally answered. No need to wait, the Lord is  coming. 

Now for us today, Christmas is coming but is not quite here  yet. So least we fall asleep and forget Christmas, missing the Day  of our Lord’s birth, let’s do that which will definitely keep us  awake. But first, let’s be honest, we the culture we currently live  in, with Christmas music blaring right after All Saints Day, even  though Christmas hasn’t even arrived yet, is it even possible to  miss it? It’s more likely you will fall asleep during my sermons  than miss Christmas. So what do I have prepared? Chimes! Every  Advent Sunday I thought it would be a good idea for us to play  some advent and Christmas music together using some noisy  chimes. At least this way you won’t fall asleep during the end of  my sermons… [hand out chimes, 1 or 2 to each, play several  carols]. 

Let us pray, 

Dear Heavenly Father, Christmas is coming and we wait with  much anticipation all of the glory and joy that comes with the  celebration of the Birth of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Help us to stay on guard and to keep awake, so that when your glory is  revealed we do not miss it but see it in all its grandeur. In your  most holy name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen

Sermon for Sunday October 25, 2020 by Pastor Chris Boyd
"A Foretaste Of The Feast To Come"
Grace and peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.
Every year my family gathers for thanksgiving, not the Boyd
Family but the extended Hileman Family. Because of the sheer
size of the family, for the last decade we have been hosting this
dinner at the church I grew up in. Each family would bring a dish,
each usually the same dish; for example, my mother would bring
sweet potato casserole, my brother rolls, one aunt the mash
potatoes, etc. They would bring their dishes, reheat them or bring
them early enough for them to make said dish at the church. After
a while, most of the family is at the church, the kitchen is bustling
with primarily my mom and her sisters, and the food that is ready
is set on a long table in a separate room. The aroma from the
dishes spreads throughout the whole first floor of the church,
gathering mostly in the Kitchen, the side room where the food is
prepared, and the dining hall where most of the family is
gathered, usually playing card games. I can smell the turkey
juices, the cranberries, the gravy; and worse, the room where the
food is prepared can be seen by all in the dining room. So as we
smell the food, we are also being tempted by the image of the
feast that is being prepared before us. But no touching. Wait, for
Grandpa to give his speech and bless the food. Only until after
such are we allowed to touch the food. But sadly, that doesn’t
stop us. The aroma is too enticing, so instead of obeying our own
house rules, everyone, here and there would grab a small
foretaste of the feast to come. Maybe a small sliver of the turkey,
or a cookie from the desserts, anything to momentarily satisfy our
watering mouths as we torturously await the feast.
The image I just prepared for you is a classic image of a
feast that is to come and the foretaste of said feast. But why talk
about feasts? Throughout the Bible, there are many images of
Heaven, but one of the most common images used in the Old and
New Testament is that of a feast. Heaven is like a feast were all
are welcomed, a feast that is rich and filling, a feast that would
never allow you to go hungry, a feast that would surpass all other
feasts. Today we may not see this feast, but at least we can get a
foretaste of it. And this foretaste comes in the form of our Daily
Bread, Communion. When we eat Communion, which is the Body
and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are taking Him within us,
we are consuming a portion of His amazing Grace, and we are
receiving forgivingness. But this amazing gift that we receive from
Christ, is only a foretaste of the amazingly vast feast that is
Heaven. Whereas through this foretaste we are forgiven of our
sins, in Heaven we don’t sin. Whereas through this foretaste we
receive the sustenance necessary to hold on to our faith, in
Heaven we become a cup overflowing and we no longer thirst or
hunger. Through Communion there is hope, for though it is
amazing, it is only a foretaste of the even more amazing gift,
entrance into Heaven.
Now it would be amiss of me if I didn’t also, within my
sermon, mention something about the Reformation, as it is
Reformation Sunday. Let me begin with this, what was the core of
the Reformation, why did it all happen, what was the core of
Luther’s intent? I’m not talking about the theology that was at the
core of the Reformation, I’m talking about the core reasons for
even the theology. What was at the very center of the whole
Reformation?
Hope.
Hope was the core. Let me explain. When Luther was a
young monk, new to his fervor towards the Lord, he was the top of
his class, an amazing scholar, a brilliant debater, the Church’s
perfect choir boy, and in love with Catholicism. He obeyed all the
teachings of the Church, observed all the practices, poured
himself over scripture, but was not satisfied. He did everything the
church instructed him to do in order to satisfy his troubled mind,
for he truly believed he was doomed to Hell. Nothing he did
satisfied him, no amount of giving his time and service, no amount
of studying, no amount of physically brutalizing himself gave him
the peace of mind to believe he was saved. And it wasn’t like he
was wrong in the head. He was in his right mind; it’s just that
through his learning, under the pope’s doctrine, he rightly believed
he would not go to Heaven. For only the righteous can enter
Heaven and in God there can be no sin. Luther was a poor
wicked sinner, like all other humans; therefore he was not
righteous, at least righteous in the eyes of God. There was no
hope.
Funny thing, when Luther was young, he absolutely hated
Romans. But, through the help of the Augustinian Order and the
writings of St. Augustine, he had a revelation. It wasn’t
instantaneous. But over time, he learned to love Romans, learned
to have hope in his salvation, and learned that nothing he did
would grant him more merit but faith alone.
Whereas Faith alone is the central theology of the
Reformation, the absolute core issue which fueled even faith
alone was hope. If we rely on works to save us then we would
surely fail. And even though we are saved through our faith, if we
believe that we must do something to obtain access into Heaven
then we will either become like the Pharisees or fall into despair. If
you wish to be saved you must give up your life for the Crusader’s
cause. If you wish to be saved you must wipe yourself for all your
sins. If your wish to be saved you must pay indulgence, or hope
that a family member of yours pay indulgence after your death.
You must do this, you must do that. Where is the hope? There is
none. So after the Augustinian Order helped put Luther on the
right path he started teaching and preaching about faith and hope.
He eventually tackled the issue on Indulgence, which at that time
was the act of giving the church money so as to magically send a
spirit in purgatory into heaven. The abuse of the Church over
those whose hope was being swallowed up by the greed of
several high ranking clergymen was awful. And because Luther
pointed this out, the high officials of the Church and several
political figures placed their ire on him. Thus the Reformation
begun. And why? Because the Roman Catholic Church had
ceased to be the Catholic Church, and Luther wanted the Church
to become Catholic once again, to follow the teachings of St.
Augustine, and to instill hope in the Church instead of abusing the
fears of the common folk.
Luther began with the thought, “Am I saved?”, but soon
realized the truth, “I am saved.” Luther began with believing
salvation through works, but soon realized he is saved through
faith alone. Luther began with despair, but soon had hope, hope
in the salvation he has received not because of anything he has
done but because of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of our
Lord and in all the promises that Christ gave us.
Luther had hope, and that hope filled his ministry. Are we the
Church of the dead? No! because of Christ, we are most certainly
the Church of the Living! And what’s one way to personify this
better than music itself. Boy did Luther loved music, and in order
harp in on this message of hope, during the Reformation he
helped revitalize the whole church become more musical. He
wrote many hymns, one of which I believe you all know, [sing “A
Mighty Fortress”, verse 1].
He wrote this and many other hymns, and because of his
insistence to sing in Church, we have much to thank him. Our
church today, here at Resurrection, is truly a living Church, and
the music and chanting and singing is proof of that. I would like to
thank our Praise Band, for through them we have even more
music within the walls of this Church, all music that glorifies the
Lord; music that serves as a testimony of the very fact that this is
indeed a Living Church.
And because of this hope that we have in our Lord, we
rejoice. We rejoice like Paul who said to the Philippians in our
second reading, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice.”
But we rejoice not only through speaking, we rejoice also through
singing, [sing, “Rejoice in the Lord always”]
Yes there is much to thank Luther for. If it wasn’t for him we
may still be wallowing in fear and worrying over whether or not we
are saved. If it wasn’t for him there may not be any cause to sing.
But because of his insistence on ready the truth revealed in
Scripture, that you are saved through faith alone, there is much
cause for hope and mirth. For He is Risen, He is Risen indeed.
And through Him, we are saved, we are saved indeed.
And thus, we go back to the feast. For we know we are
saved, and we know that Christ has prepared for us a wedding
feast, with Christ as the head and the Church His wife. And we
are not like the ones who fought against the invitation to the
wedding feast, and if I may be so bold, I have another song [sing,
“I Cannot Come to the Banquet”].
No we are not like the ones who did not welcome the
invitation, but we are like the ones who did receive and attended
the banquet. And we are not like the one who shows up without a
garment, only there for the food, for this person represents those
who wish for the promised Kingdom but does not have faith. We
are those who do have faith and thus are welcomed with open
arms by Our King who organized the feast. There is much hope.
For the feast is already prepared, we are invited, and through
Christ, we are saved.
Let us pray,
Dear Lord, we thank you for the heavenly feast that you
have prepared for us, and the hope that we are indeed invited to
eat at the same table with you. Continue to provide for us the
ability to never forget your promises but instead always remember
this hope we have in you, our Savior and Lord, in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

“Cyrus the Anointed”

Grace and peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

 

Several weeks ago I went to a bible study located in Port Clinton. This group was reading the story of Joseph son of Jacob, found in Genesis. During this particular study, we were reading the part when the Pharaoh appointed Joseph as his right hand man. Joseph had just deciphered the Pharaoh’s dream, and the Pharaoh decided to believe Joseph. While we were conducting this class I realized something. This Pharaoh was not a God-fearing man, he was not a Hebrew, yet God blessed him. How you might say? Well first, God revealed to the Pharaoh through his dreams of the seven years of bountifulness and the seven years of famine. God revealed this to him, God blessed pharaoh with these dreams. But the next is even more stunning. Pharaoh, a man who knew not the God of Abraham, said this, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” and to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are” (Genesis 43:38-39). How could the Pharaoh say this if not through the blessing of God?

 

On this day, we celebrate All Saints Day. This day is to recognize primarily all the saints who came before us, but to also celebrate all the saints who are here and yet to come, for through Christ we are all in union with the saints, but who are the saints? Do we not believe that though we are all sinners, through Christ we are all saints? This is most certainly true, for as Christians we are all sinners and saints. A saint is not a saint because of what they do. A saint does what they do because they are first a saint, and we are all saints not because of our actions but because of the grace of God. Therefore, on this day we celebrate alongside all who have been sanctified through Christ. We celebrate because through Jesus, we are and will always be in union with each other. This does not mean merely with Christians, but with all who have been sanctified through Christ. For did not the dead rose from the grave after Jesus died? They did, for Scripture tells us that after Jesus died the saints in the grave rose from the dead (Matthew 27:52-53).

 

Those who came before Jesus and died never got the opportunity to know Christ, so how could they have been saints? It is because Christ died on the cross for all of humanity, not merely for those who came after Him. Thus those who died before Jesus, who accepted Jesus, are most definitely saints, for through Christ they are saints. I would imagine that one of those who rose from the dead was the pharaoh found in Genesis, the pharaoh who was truly blessed by God.

 

Another person who was truly blessed by God was Cyrus, King of the Persians, which is now Iran. After Israel and Judah was sacked for their wicked ways and placed under Babylonian captivity as slaves once again, but as slaves to the Babylonians instead of the Egyptians, eventually there came a king who, through the grace of God, decided to free the Hebrews. He not only freed them, but he also fully funded the rebuilding of their nation, Israel, which was orchestrated by the prophets Ezra and Nehemiah. Cyrus was no Jew, but God still accounted this gentile as one of his anointed. In our first reading of Isaiah, it reads, “Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,” and again, “For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me.” Cyrus did not know of God, but God still used him as an instrument for the sake of His people. And He didn’t just used Cyrus, but He blessed Cyrus, He anointed Cyrus. If Cyrus was anointed, then how could he, a gentile, not also be accounted as one of the saints?

 

Just like the Cyrus, there are many people throughout the Bible who, though not knowing God, was blessed by Him or guided by Him for the sake of His people. And after Jesus rose from the grave do you think these blessings from God to those who have the ability to affect God’s people ended? Far from it! God continued to guide the nations and bless various leaders all for the sake of His people. One example that pops in my head is Constantine.

 

During the early 4th century, He was one of four emperors who ruled the Tetrarchy of Rome, for at that time Rome was separated into four separate regions. During his rule, the four emperors decided that there needed to be one sole ruler, thus a civil war broke out to determine who would be the true Emperor of Rome. Yet something curious happened. Before Constantine entered the war, he and the Bishop of Rome, Eusebius, whom he was friendly with, had a dream. A new symbol was to be created and painted on every single shield. This symbol is the Xi Rho (pronounced “kie-row”) symbol, which looks like the capital P with an x on the bottom half. This symbol represents the first two Greek letters of the word Christ (Xpistos). We still use this symbol today, but Constantine, a gentile, ordered this symbol be painted. And on the first battle, with Bishop Eusebius present, Eusebius had a vision. In the clouds above the Soldiers bearing this new symbol, he saw the Cross above the Sun bearing the inscription, translated as “In this sign thou shall conquer.”

 

Eventually Constantine won the Civil War with little casualties to his own under armed forces and through his reign established the Holy Roman Empire. Later on his death bed, with his friend Eusebius present, he confessed his faith and converted to Christianity.

 

God has truly blessed many leaders throughout history, and through the death of Jesus he has anointed and sanctified many whom He directed for the sake of His people. And even today we wish that God continues to guide the nations, blessing all the leaders on earth for the sake of His people. Here in America, we the church pray that God blesses our local leaders, our governors, our judges, our legislators, and most especially our President. We do this not because we agree with their political stance, lest we stop praying for political leaders because we disagree with them, but because we wish for God to guide them for our own sake.

 

We wish that God would bless our leaders the same way he blessed Constantine, the Pharaoh in Genesis, and Cyrus; directing them so that they may fulfill God’s intent. But what is God’s intent regarding government? Within the Church we believe there are three Holy Estates, the family, the Church, and Government. Focusing on the latter two, the Church’s main goal with regards to the Government is to make sure it is and remains to be Holy. This includes getting politically involved so that our faith would have a strong influence on Government. The Government’s main goal with regards to the Church is to protect the Church. The Government is not the Church, but, through the intent of God, it is commanded and blessed with the directive to protect first and foremost the Church. Thus we pray, that God guides our leaders with his Spirit so that they may lead with wisdom, justice, kindness, and with faith.

 

Thus, as Election Day comes, let’s make a promise. Regardless of who wins, after Jan 20th we will pray for our President. Not because we like him or agree with him, but because we desire God to guide him for the sake of the Church, to guide him like He guided Constantine, the first Christian Emperor of Rome, to guide him like He guided Pharaoh, who appointed Joseph as his right hand man, to guide him like He guided Cyrus the Anointed who freed the Hebrews from Babylonian captivity and helped rebuild Israel. We don’t have to agree on who we like as President, but let us agree on this as American Christians, our desire for God to bless our President, to bless America, and to bless the Church.

 

Let us pray,

 

Dear Heavenly Father, you are the source of all blessings and the one who sanctifies all. We ask that you continue to extend your blessing to all leaders on earth for the sake of the Church and her people, and to also give us the humility to not be blinded by our politics but to continue to pray for our leaders. In your most holy name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

   Today is an incredibly special day, for today we celebrate the Confirmation of Arleigh Dackermann, and following this sermon and hymn we will proceed with her Affirmation of Baptism. Thus, I would like to give a message to Arleigh.

   On April 2nd, 2006, you were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Through Baptism, you have been blessed with the faith in God and were received into the fold of the heavenly family of God, received into the Body of Christ. Through Baptism, an act of God and not of Man, through water and the Word, you have been truly blessed, for you were washed of your sins which originates from original sin, broken free from the chains of slavery under Satan, and was provided the promise of salvation and a seat at the heavenly kingdom’s feast, a promise that can never be broken, a promise that is gifted to you, a promise that was given through the death of Jesus Christ.

   Now through Baptism, the family of God promised to help raise you within the Church united with your parents. They have looked over you, taught you, and guarded you. It is said, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and for us that village is the family of God. We have watched you, an infant in Christ, grow in faith, and as we looked over you, we taught you through Catechism; teaching the faith so that you may come to understand scripture, the creeds, the Lord’s prayers, the Ten Commandments, as well as the sacraments. The Small Catechism was taught to you so that you may understand this faith which you have received through Baptism, so that you may understand what Baptism is, and so you may understand and have faith in the promises that God provided to you through your Baptism.

   And as the Church taught you, they saw you grow in maturity in your faith, coming to understand your faith. As they saw your maturity in Christ growing, they had confidence that you understood the true presence of Christ in the Bread and the Wine of Communion. Through their confidence, they invited you to the table to receive with the Church your first Communion. Through Communion, or the Eucharist, and through your faith in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, you received the sustenance necessary to retain your faith. For Communion is our Daily Bread necessary to fuel or faith in Christ, to nourish not only or Body but to also nourish our aching souls which without Christ would surely fail in retaining faith in Christ. Communion is a gift that is received through faith, for without faith, communion is not communion. Thus, once your teachers and parents and congregation saw you were ready to receive, that you believed, they gladly invited you to the table to receive your Daily Bread.

   And now, as a member of the Body of Christ through Baptism, and one who is nourished through Communion, matured through Catechism, you come forward to affirm your faith, to affirm your faith which comes through Baptism, thus affirming your Baptism. For this is what Confirmation is, it is the Affirmation of your Baptism, a declaration, a confession, that you understand your Baptism and your faith which comes from Baptism. On this day you will renounce the Devil, proclaim the Creeds, and profess your faith in Jesus Christ and in all his promises.

   So a little quiz… Oh, I know, not another quiz! It’s all right; this isn’t a quiz with trick questions. In your Catechism, you learned of the Sacraments. How many are there? Two. What are they? Baptism and Communion. But where is Confirmation? Is it still a sacred act ordered by God? Yes. But is it a Sacrament? No, for in order to be Sacrament, in accordance with Catholic teaching, it needs to have the power to save or retain faith, of which Confirmation does not do. Does this mean that Confirmation is not important? Far from it, it is still a sacred act. End of Quiz.

   So what does that make Confirmation? Confirmation is not Baptism, which many confuse them to be the same and thus wait for people to affirm their faith to perform Baptism, not understanding that Confirmation is in reality the affirming of your faith which you received through Baptism. Whereas Baptism is an act of God, Confirmation is an act of Man. In Baptism, God externally gives you faith. In Confirmation, you acknowledge this faith within you which was externally given to you first from God. This acknowledgement and understanding is deeply important for the sake of holding fast onto our own faith.

   In Jesus’ parable he talks about the rocky and good soil. There is the pathway and the thorn infested soil, but for the sake of this sermon I want to talk about the rocky and good soil. In the rocky soil, the plant grows fast, but because it does not develop deep roots it withers away just as fast. Yet, in the good soil, deep roots grow, and because the plant has deep roots it is capable of weathering any storm and not wither away from the beating sun. The main difference between the two is the deepness and strength of their roots. So what are these roots? What do these roots represent? These roots represent your understanding, your discipleship, the strength of your faith, and the ability to discern your faith. The difference between the two soils is that the first is not properly discipled and, because they are not, when the world beats them off side the head with a myriad of trials and temptations and awful things such as persecution, the one with weak roots loses their faith and crumbles under the weight of the world. But the soil that is good, where roots are deep and strong, no matter what the world throws at them, they are capable of defending their own faith.

   This is why Catechism is so important and why we cherish Confirmation, for through catechism and discipleship you are lead towards maturity in your own faith, and through this maturity you have been lead towards affirming your faith which you received first through Baptism. But it should be noted, your journey has not ended. We are all in need of continual catechism, our discipleship in our Lord has never ended, and our faith in Him could always go a little deeper.

   Arleigh, for your confirmation you have provided a verse from Isaiah 40:31, “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” As you walk in the light of the Lord, walk in faith, faith in the promises provided for you through Baptism, walk with abundant patience in Christ. Don’t be like the rocky soil whose plant grows impatiently and withers away, but be like the plant in the good soil which through patience grows deep roots, roots that will never allow the plant to die. Wait on the Lord, and keep on reflecting on Him, so that your faith in the Lord is continually renewed and given the strength and vigor to not only weather any storm but to also be mounted on eagle’s wings, to never go weary, and never faint or falter. Rely on the Lord always, have patience on Him, deepen your roots through continuous discipleship and catechism, and know this, the Living Lord, who died for your sake and has risen for your sake, will always be with you.

Let us pray,

   Dear Heavenly Father, we ask that you continue to bless Arleigh with your Spirit, protecting her faith, and encouraging her to not only profess and affirm her faith, but to continue to deepen her faith in you the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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