This is an adapted form of the sermon I preached today, Reformation Sunday. It was also the occasion of the Confirmation of two of our youth, Erinn and Jared. The gospel reading was John 8:31-36. As part of the sermon, I read aloud from a copyrighted book; instead of printing the book’s word’s here, I am linking to a website where they’re printed. It’s on the owner of that website whether he’s breaking copyright law! Anyway, here’s the sermon:
Today’s your big day, and we’re decked out in red.
Today is the day we lay hands on your head.
You finished your work, you completed your term.
And today you are free, and your faith you’ll affirm.
You’ll promise some things. You’ll promise to love,
To worship, to serve, and to proclaim God above.
Of course, you’ve already done this for so many days.
You’re both active at church in so many ways.
And you plan to continue; I know, ’cause you’ve said
The ways you will serve in the years up ahead
Erinn, I know that there’s nothing sinister
In your desire to serve as an assisting minister!
And Jared, your skill at making sure things are right
Will help as you train our next acolytes!
So today’s not the end. It’s not graduation.
There’s much more to learn after confirmation.
There’s lots more to come, each day till you die.
New people to see and new passions to try.
But today is important. And they all join with me
As today we celebrate that you are made free.
But what’s freedom mean? Is it just letting loose?
Well, let’s hear from an expert. His name’s Dr. Seuss.
He once wrote a book that some of you know
A book that’s called Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
I’ll read a few pages now, not quite the whole thing
That I think might show us the freedom Christ brings.
At this point, I read a good portion of Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Click here for a possibly legal online version of it.
Was Dr. Seuss Lutheran? I really don’t know.
But there’s something quite Lutheran in Oh, the Places You’ll Go.
Because the freedom he wrote was not perfect or grand
He saw lots of things happening that no one had planned
But it’s freedom to try, and freedom to live
And freedom to trust that God will always forgive
Martin Luther found freedom; he found freedom from sin.
Freedom from doubt, from the waiting within.
He saw that doing whatever you like – that’s not free
Freedom is following God, not following me.
Like Dr. Seuss said, freedom sometimes brings grief.
God doesn’t always protect us from burglar and thief.
We’re not always safe from the dark voice inside,
Or from all of the fears that make us tongue-tied.
But God has promised to be with you there.
To always walk with you, and always to care.
And God has promised to fill you with grace,
And that grace is what takes you to just the right place.
Oh, the places you’ll go ’cause you’re really not stuck
You’re not stuck in the past or your fears or the muck.
You’re not stuck in your sins, because you are forgiven.
After all, what is grace? It’s God’s love freely given.
And that is the truth, and it will make you free.
Christ said that. He meant it. For you and for me.
The Son gave you grace, and so you are freed.
Erinn, Jared, and you all, you are all free indeed.