I forget. I forget my backpack. I forget I need gas in the car. I forget to turn on the dishwasher. I forget that you already told me your plans. I forget I said I would call you back. I forget….the small things, the medium things… and then there are the BIG things I forget. I forget I am human and will make mistakes. I forget surrender to God is the path of freedom. I forget God is with me no matter what. I forget that on a day of weariness at the end of a work week spending an evening with middle school students can revive my spirit.
We finished our unit in Confirmation on the Ten Commandments. The people of Israel- like you and me- would forget. They would forget that God gave the Law to Moses as Covenant, connection, protection, belonging. They would forget that the law was given not to suppress them the way being held captive as slaves in Egypt did. They forget the Law was a gift of claiming them to set them free to live full lives connected to God and one another.
Studying the Ten Commandments we read in our Small Catechisms each of the Commandments and Luther’s explanation. We opened our study Bibles and read the Commandments. We made the connection of Jesus and the Great Commandment- you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Each student created their own tablet on which they wrote or drew the Ten Commandments. We worked to remember them. On our last night of reviewing, on the night of my weariness, we did skits and played charades. They connected with their beloved Confirmation Guides and one another in a different way. Worn out and weary, with weather that I thought would keep students away- we laughed, we learned, we shared highs and lows and we prayed. I forget that God can make all things new. God brings life from death. God brings the strength in our times of surrender.
This weekend as twelve high school freshman Affirm their Faith- in the Rite of Confirmation they will share a creative project that expresses their faith. Its’ intention is to help them remember. To help them remember who they were and whose they will always be at this time in their faith journey and into the future.
Each confirmand has chosen a Confirmation Bible verse. This verse of their own choosing will walk with them in times of forgetting - that is my prayer. In my own bible I have written their name by their verse and the date of their Affirmation of Baptism to help me remember. To remember them in my prayers, to remember that on a particular day they shared this verse and what it meant to them —that is why I write it down. I go to prepare for this weekend’s preaching. Psalm 46 is the appointed Psalm for Reformation weekend. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. There are two names by two of the verses in Psalm 46 and I am reminded of these two Confirmands and I offer up a prayer for each. “May yo
ur peace and Presence be with them this week. May they trust you are with them-no-matter-what!”
In the Summer of 2018 when our high school youth traveled to Houston for the National Youth Gathering we took home the message, “There is grace for that.”. Upon our return we wch got a bracelet to help us remember. This weekend we will hear about being Renewed by Grace.
We get to be people who remember: Love is stronger than hatred. Death is not the last word. Grace is a free gift from God. …. We are co-rememberers. We remember with the people of God the Israelites how God set them free from captivity. We remember with the disciples how Jesus is the way to freedom. We remember death did not and will not have the last word. We trust in a God who has the last word. We remember together and remind one another that even in times where we are worn out and weary God’s Spirit is alive and at work among us- fueled and aflame. Amen.