June 10, 2012
ďA BUNCH OF BROTHERS, SISTERS, AND MOMSĒ
Today is a celebration of milestones.† Four of our baptized ones will receive Holy Communion for the very first time.† Through classes they have a better understanding of the gifts and promises of Holy Communion, and Jesus will continue to fill them with grace and understanding as they grow in our midst.†
Today we celebrate our education staff, and we affirm their willingness to teach Godís Word of love, acceptance, and mercy through our Lord Jesus Christ. We picture that which is taught as spoons-full of all that God desires for us to know and do.† Christian education is a spoon-full at a time; we donít swallow all of God all at once.† Instead, we take little bites throughout a lifetime, and those bites accumulate and connect as foretastes of the Feast to come.† If you are like me, you realize that knowledge is cumulative; what comes out of my mouth is an accumulation of things learned over a lifetime, millions of bits and pieces and bites from here or there, stored, accumulated, and mentally cataloged over decades through a multitude of teachers and mentors.† As Kiely, Josh, Noah, and Kelly eat the bread and drink the cup, they do so after hearing about Jesus and his love from parents and these very teachers whose passion it is to introduce Jesus and faith to Godís kids of all ages. And as Amelia Svoboda receives her Bible, she quickly sees the names of the saints of the present, those young and older who have signed Ameliaís Bible while also sharing with her their own favorite Biblical passages.†
And, as you know, our 2012 graduates are also here today, and we celebrate their graduations from either high school, college, or graduate school. They, too, have been raised by a village as parents, numerous teachers of academics, music, art, or dance, coaches, pastors, employers, and peers all have had opportunities to influence, encourage,
and empower our kids to not only be good citizens but also faithful disciples of Jesus.
††††††††††† In this one room today we see a journey, a journey that began at baptism but then traveled through the various stages of spiritual maturity into adulthood.† As Paul Klug graduates from high school, he may not even remember much about his First Communion, but his brother Josh is there today.† When you are seven or eight it feels like it will take forever to get to sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen, but then it seems to happen in the blink of an eye.† Our prayer always is that our children walk with Jesus each step of the way into adulthood, and we are honored to help provide the opportunities for that to happen through this church.† And it does.† Little ones grow in faith.† Little ones become older and are able to express their faith.† And then these same older ones move through high school or college into adulthood where they continue to grow in faith while seeking to nurture and grow the next wave of the little ones of the faith.† And this time or the next time the little ones might be their own childrenÖand the spiritual beat goes on.
††††††††††† In the Gospel text today Jesus looks at those who have followed him for days, listening to his teaching and preaching, and marveling at those whom Jesus has healed.† Jesus looks at each of these people who are hungry to receive his Word, and Jesus calls them brothers, sisters, and mothers.† Jesus calls them family, and Jesus says that anyone, everyone who does the will of God is one of Jesusí family.† We have a bunch of brothers, sisters, and moms.†
††††††††††† That is what Jesus asks of each one of you.† He asks you to do his will.† His will is to proclaim him through word and deed.† His will is to do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with him.† His will is to see every single person on this earth as yet another creation of God, and he calls you and us to handle Godís creation with care.† Godís will is to utilize the gifts he has given you and us to grow Godís kingdom on this earth.† Godís will is to use the education you receive to make a difference in the lives of those impoverished or malnourished or lacking water.† You, more than any other generation, have the opportunity to make a God-difference in this world globally as well as locally.† The seeds for that kind of action were planted here.
††††††††††† It is not about how many degrees you earn, or how much money you make.† What matters is how many people you have touched and influenced in the name and through the love of Jesus Christ.† That is when he calls you brothers, sisters, and moms.††††††
††††††††††† Go.† Go in His Name.† Go to CMU, NMC, U of M, Concordia, Grad school, or vocations.† Go with his power to serve.† Go and proclaim his message of love so that all the messages of hate will be drowned out.† Go with God.† Amen