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Promises Made…


Reformation Sunday is so much fun. We get to sing the fight song. I get to wear my bright red hier stehe ich socks (authentic, too, since they were purchased in the gift shop right across those famed castle church doors).

But the best part of Reformation Sunday is the celebration of Affirmation of Baptism which is a part of our parish’s tradition. Yesterday, seven high-school freshmen in front of a packed house renounced sin, death and the devil…professed the creed with their sisters and brothers in the faith…and then accepted for themselves the awesome covenant of discipleship…each one speaking loudly and clearly in turn: “I will, and I ask God to help and guide me.”

Yes, indeed. May God help and guide them. Those of us who’ve been at this discipleship business a bit longer know that they will struggle to keep the covenant they have made. As a matter of fact, it is impossible. Most of them probably didn’t make it past their confirmation cakes before some violation had occurred. So why bother? Beyond making Grandma happy by standing up in front of the whole church, is there really any reason to make promises we know already that we cannot keep?

Yes. There is a very good reason. Those kids (bless their well-intentioned little hearts) weren’t the only ones making promises yesterday.

“The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant…” Seems that God is in the promise making business, too. This is a promise to be written on their hearts by the One who promises to be their God in all things, “to forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.”

And as if that’s not enough…God allows the rest of us to take part in this covenant, too. Not only did these young people promise, but so did the congregation…to love, nurture, encourage and pray for these with whom we share the claim and call of God.

Promises…surrounded by promises…undergirded by the promises of God. It’s not a perfect system, in the sense that we human beings will always fall short. But God will not fail. And that makes yesterday’s celebration a very good step forward on the life of faith which is already unfolding in these young lives. I, for one, can’t wait to see where God is taking us next.


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