“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16
Every year about this time I tend to have something to say about the Confirmation Class at WFPC. We are blessed beyond imagination with life, with youth, with families, and with this persistent, insistent sense of mission and enthusiasm and abundant life here in this community. In many ways the journey these teens have taken over this past year continues to serve as a touchstone for how this church has remained unswervingly alive and relevant and engaged during COVID.
And what an investment of energy on the part of kids, parents, and leaders (mentors, teachers, professional staff, pastors)! What happens, when confirmation is done right, is that young people take the faith that they have lived in and observed and experienced and been nurtured by, and they say, “Now I own this for myself. I have always known God and understood God’s love, but now I choose to follow Jesus, now this is my journey.”
But this is not a “one-and-done” decision. I pray that, like Rebekah, they will answer the question, “When did you ask Jesus into your life?” by saying, “This morning, around the time I had my first cup of coffee. And I will invite Jesus to be Lord tomorrow morning too, then the next day, and the day after that…”
Because this is a day by day, step by step, decision by decision experience. Eternal life isn’t so much a destination as it is an invitation.
I pray that these beautiful confirmands will always face each new day with both the assurance of God’s love and the intention to live that love out loud.
“You are the light of the world,” Jesus said. So shine already. Shine! “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Congratulations, WFPC youth. Now the journey begins for real!
(You can see the service, or listen to Rebekah’s message – the second in her “Last Ten” series – by clicking the following link: “Strength in Weakness“).
- here are a few images from worship:
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.