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A Sense of Perspective…


“The true treasure of the Church is the most holy Gospel of the glory and grace of God.” – Martin Luther, The 95 Theses, #62

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Jesus, according to St. Matthew 6:21.

Reformation Sunday is a day of celebration here at Grace…a day for the Rite of Affirmation of Baptism for those young people who have completed the two year course of study which is a part of our local tradition. There are word and sacrament; there is song and prayer and food; there are gifts; there is a full house for worship as parents and sponsors, grandmas and cousins and friends turn out to congratulate these young people and, sincerely give thanks to God for them.

I give thanks to God for them, too. And along with all the aforementioned kinfolk, I love these kids and would do for them anything that was within my ability to do. It’s often at such celebrations, however, that one hears the old saw about how “our kids are the future of the church” and “a real treasure” that we need to safeguard.

Really? Seems to me that the church is given but one treasure. (See Brother Martin above.) And rather than safeguard that treasure, we are to invest it by the great risk of sharing it…not only with the young people who populate our confirmation classes, but with the un-taught, un-reached and un-convinced of the communities in which we live and serve. We are to lavish it upon the poor and the homeless, the lost and the least who are our neighbors. And we are to trust that God will be at work in and through us to such effect that the ethic of the kingdom might be visible…even if only as a blessed glimpse now and then.

I am happy for the celebration. But as with most such celebrations, the great danger exists that it will be only about us…our big day…our glorious tradition. Our challenge is to keep a sense of perspective…to remember that the great treasure we possess is the gift of God’s good news to and for us, and that even these bright, lovely young people are clay jars like the rest of us – fragile, vulnerable.

Here is something to celebrate indeed…a treasure of such gracious power that it can be conveyed even through the likes of these young ones and the old ones who surround them…not only by some future church, but even now to a waiting and hurting world.


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