I have been at RHUMC long enough now (nearly three years!) to declare that one of the annual highlights for me is partnering with youth on their journey toward confirmation. I enjoy getting to know the young people and their families, matching each youth with a mentor, and celebrating their history in the church and their aspirations for the future. Each year I lead a session for the confirmation group which asks, “What is a Christian?” and then explores some responses to that question.
One of my efforts to answer the query for myself turned out like this: A Christian affirms the One God as Creator, Preserver of Life, Liberator, and Illuminator of the path to right living. A Christian walks with Jesus from fear to love, from exclusion to inclusion, from brokenness to wholeness, from death to life. By the power of God’s Spirit, a Christian cultivates compassion and faith by praying, welcoming, noticing, helping, caring, giving, listening to scripture, learning, growing, serving, extending forgiveness, and making peace. A Christian keeps company with other disciples for mutual encouragement, guidance and support, and for the strengthening of our shared mission, which is to share God’s grace with the world.
I probably have too many words in my description of a Christian, but I find it helpful to periodically go through the exercise of writing out what I think I mean by using the term. Being in conversation with the youth of our church pushes me to reflect and try to improve the way I communicate about faith. That’s one of many reasons I appreciate the opportunity to spend time with those who are choosing to take their understanding to the next level and broaden their experience of the life of the church.
I am looking forward to Sunday, May 13, not only because it is Mother’s Day but also because it is the day we will say to a group of young men, “The Lord surround you with grace and peace, and by the Spirit confirm you in the faith and fellowship of Jesus Christ.”
May the peace of Christ be also with you!