Post date: Sep 27, 2011 6:44:54 PM

“Confirmation and Reformation Sunday”

Sunday October 30th will be a great celebration day here at First Lutheran in Ellensburg. Two special events are happening on the same day: Confirmation Sunday and Reformation Sunday.

First of all, four of our young people are ready to be confirmed in the Christian faith. They are ready to affirm their baptisms. Four youthful

members of God’s church are ready to say “Yes” to the promises God first made to them in Holy Baptism. Many people, perhaps you too, have been teachers and examples of Christian faith and life for them. You may have been preschool teachers, Sunday School teachers, Vacation Bible School teachers or youth leaders for them. Perhaps you were a Christian friend or mentor to them in past years or (I hope) will continue to be so in their high school years and beyond. These four young Christians have completed three years of study on the Bible, 10 Commandments, Apostle’s Creed, Lord’s Prayer, Baptism, Lord’s Supper and Reformation history and are now ready to be confirmed in the Christian faith. They are ready to assume greater responsibility in the life of our church and its mission in the world. These four wonderful young Christians are Alex Ponchene, Tristan Blaisdell, Ethan Johnson and Hunter Francis (a member of First Presbyterian Church). They will be presenting their statements of faith during the 10:00 AM worship service. Of course there will be a cake and reception in their honor following worship, so do come and celebrate with them.

October 30th is also Reformation Sunday. On Reformation day we give thanks for the faithful witness of Martin Luther and other reformers of the church. Luther discovered the Bible truth that our salvation is a free gift of God’s grace, which we receive through faith. I should say Luther and others “rediscovered” the truth of salvation as God’s free gift to us, because that was always there in the Bible. But it had gotten covered over with other things during the middle ages. Luther emphasized the Bible truth that we do not somehow earn the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life. Rather these are freely given to us through the precious blood of Jesus, who died on the cross and rose again to save us. Our lives are a “Thank You!” to God as we share the love and good news of Jesus with other people. We work not to be saved. We work because we are saved through Jesus. Jesus says it well in John 8:32: “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” Reformation Sunday reminds us that we need to continually let ourselves and the church be reformed and reshaped into the image of God. It’s never “once and done”, but a continual lifelong process. We pray that God will constantly reform us into the image of Christ, so that we can help shine the light of Jesus more effectively in our world.

Affirmation of Baptism (Confirmation) and Reformation Sunday go well together. I appreciate that the Rite of Confirmation happens here in the fall of the year as young people are beginning high school. This helps emphasize that confirmation is a beginning, not an ending, and that we are all life long students of God’s Word and life- long disciples of Jesus. This prayer will be said on Sunday October 30th for Tristan, Ethan, Alex and Hunter:

“We give you thanks, O God, that through water and the Holy Spirit you give us new birth, cleanse us from sin, and raise us to eternal life. Stir up in your people the gift of your Holy Spirit: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever. Amen.”

Serving Christ together with you,

Dennis Hickman, pastor