Sunday, April 8, 2012

1 John 1:1-5 Witness

The third meditation for the was a bit of a long service! We confirmed Isabel and Maya Chavez!

Meditation - Witness
1 John 1:1-5

We witness to these things, that our joy may be complete....

What does it mean to witness to the light?
The message is about do we witness to the fact that light has come into the world, death has been defeated, and proclaim this to the world!

I know that for many of can get us down.  Maybe there is something you’re so down about that it’s hard for you to even stay present...
much less think about resurrection.  

Ruby makes it easy to see how to proclaim the light of God. ..

Starting about two weeks ago,
on random occasions she’s been jumping up and down shouting...
Dad Daddy, Easter’s coming.. JEsus is risen dad!  
Talk about indoctrination...brain washing?  
It wasn’t me...her mother?
It was awesome.
Our neighbors have a three year old...good friends with Ruby.  
Ruby and I were out walking the dog and passed by their place, and she shouted to her friend!  Easter is almost here, Jesus is risen...
Do you want to come to church on Easter?!
The parents aren’t really church going folks...but that didn’t stop Ruby from shining a little light...
Bringing a smile to our faces. Joy to our lives.
We witness to these things, that our joy may be complete....

Two weeks ago, I went to the funeral service of a colleague, Fr Demetrious Demopulus, a Greek orthodox priest.  
It was a fascinating
Other priests, some 10 or so, dressed to varying degrees of fancy holy vestitures, some with tall hats, others with long beards, others with tall backs, all with long robes...these priests stood around the open coffin, and sang in repeated patterns some of the most mysterious truths of the christian faith:
- Grant your servant a place at your eternal banquet feast.
- Bestow your mercy upon him.
- Here is your servant, the one you had called from the beginning, he has fallen asleep...
- He now lives eternally with you...

Through the proclamation of mysterious truths of scripture at the time of passing from one life to another,
they witnessed to these things, that their joy may be complete....

In recent weeks, on separate occasions two friends -
who have both have struggled mightily with addiction and depression,
sought me out - both were clean and sober.  
I’d seen both of them struggle...there were times when I had come to the point of giving up hope...
Both had been away for a long time, they fought on,
And then they show up!
and their light is shining brightly, thanks be to God.
What a gift to me that they would come to me and to this community to share in their joy and partner with them in their recovery.  
We witness to these things that our joy may be complete.

It has been such an amazing privilege to see the growth and maturity of faith of our girls, Maya and Isabel Chavez, and Carly and Dira Brugger.  
When Trasie and I first moved here, Maya was 7, the others 9 and 10.  
Even Gerzain looks young in those old pictures....

And now we are confirming them in the church.  

Technically, confirmation of the girls means that they move from baptized members of the church to “active” members...
I’d say they’ve been pretty active already, and their baptism is still valid...language limitations :).
The four girls have already made this transition when they went before session a few weeks ago...and now in before the congregation today, we have an opportunity for Maya and Isabel to make some affirmations of faith, and for them and us to covenant with one another to continue the process of mutually sharing in growing in our faith.
The brugger girls are away this weekend visiting their grandfather who is nearing the end, and we will do something similar with them in the upcoming weeks....

The coolest thing for me, apart from seeing them mature in their faith,
is that in this process, they say, you are my faith community,
-it is with you that I seek to be on my faith journey,
- to you I turn to help - guide me,
- in you I hope to find space to share my faith discoveries.  
What an honor, and what a responsibility...and it is up to all of us to bear witness of the light in our lives to one another, particularly to these young ladies...

As I have been able to spend time with them, I am amazed at the grace with which they live their lives, and the love they share in their living.  
We witness to these things, that our joy may be complete.

If Maya and Isabel would come forward please....

MILEE: Hear these words from Holy Scripture:
As many of you as were baptized into Christ
have clothed yourselves with Christ.
There is no longer Jew or Greek,
there is no longer slave or free,
there is no longer male and female;
for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

In Baptism God claims us,
and seals us affirming that we belong to God
God frees us from sin and death,
uniting us with Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection.
By water and the Holy Spirit,
we are made members of the church, the body of Christ,
and joined to Christ’s ministry of love, peace, and justice.
Let us remember with joy our own baptism,
as we celebrate the confirmation of Maya and Isabel!

Questions to Confirmands and Congregation.
Trusting in the gracious mercy of God, do you turn from the ways of sin and renounce evil and its power in the world?  I DO.                  
Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Lord and Savior, trusting in his grace and love?  I Do.
Will you be a faithful member of this congregation, share in its worship and ministry through your prayers and gifts, your study and service, and so fulfill your calling to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? I will, with God’’s help.

To the congregation:
Will we, as a community of beloved disciples, confirm the sacredness and beauty of our relationship with these young people (Maya and Isabel), encourage them in faith, as they encourage us, and empower them to share in the work and life of the church through their many gifts?
We will.

With the whole church let us confess our faith, using the the portion of the Brief statement of Faith  addressing the Holy Spirit , found printed in the bulletin.

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