“Here is water – what can stand in the way?”– Acts 8:36
Confirmation Sunday is always one of my favorite worship services at church. Especially here in Wake Forest. We have such an active, engaged, enthusiastic group of young people. Not just the Middle School students but the High Schoolers too.
So today, in the most creative fashion and after a whole series of short services where youth were baptized, confirmed, or both, the current crop of confirmands made their public declarations of faith in a beautiful montage of powerful videos.
Then Rebekah preached on “The Ethiopian Eunuch” – it’s a passage of scripture we both like to reference when we are talking about God’s wide-open invitation, and how there is nothing, absolutely nothing that stands in the way of our welcome home.
The Jesus kind of love is focused on inclusion, and invitation, and acceptance. “Nothing in all of Creation,” Paul writes in Romans 8, “can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Nothing!”
So Rebekah brought our attention to this key phrase from the Acts story – “What can stand in the way?”
Of course the answer is “nothing!”
As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.Acts 8:26-40
But then the answer can also be, “A whole lot of things!” Our own pride, our self absorption, our lack of understanding, our intransigence, our unwillingness to admit that we even need Jesus, hangups that have come to rest on our souls via religious bigotry, self doubt, unbelief… The list goes on.
But here is the good news. We are welcome to come home, right along with our doubts and our fears. This Disciple of Jesus thing is a journey. For these young people confirmation wasn’t something to check off and move on from, it is the beginning.
An ongoing journey:
When I said – when I remember to say – “I’m going to follow Jesus” what is implied is a day-by-day choice and an ongoing journey.
Salvation isn’t about getting my ticket to heaven, it is about asking Jesus to journey with me now, as I actively engage this life of “getting on board” with God.
These young people who said “Yes!” to Jesus today get to be active participants in salvation as they join God in God’s initiatives of grace, mercy, love, encouragement, healing, fighting evil and so much more.
So. Much. More.
May God be with each one of us. May God especially bless this particular group of youth, here at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church.
Amen – DEREK
Here are some images from today’s worship. It – including the message – was a wonderful testimony to love. Click here for the service.
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.