St. Stephen Lutheran Church
I love confirmation. Confirmation-aged students are in the midst of discovering their unique God-given gifts and talents. They are learning what it means to be called into service in God's kingdom. They are learning what it means to be "church." They are learning what it means to forgive and to be forgiven.
In Romans 12, Paul talks about the church existing as a bodyin particular the body of Christ. He says, "for as in one body there are many members, and not all the members have the same functionwe have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us." He then goes on to give some examples of different gifts. And this is the case with the church today. Not any one of us individually has the authority to forgive sins, to "be the church"- this is a power of God given to the church as a whole. Only in working together, in using our God-given gifts together, can we properly and responsibly wield the authority of Christ. Some of us are blessed with musical talent, some of us are blessed with a heart for mission work. Some of us like to work with youth - some of us are youth and have great energy to give. Some of us are skilled in physical labor, some of us like to keep books. Some of us like to talk, some of us like to bake, some of us like to lead and some of us like to follow. Some of us like to try to connect all of these different gifts together. None of us has all of these gifts. As a church, we must learn how to use our gifts together.
As members of the church, as members of the body of Christ, we stand on both sides of forgiveness. At times we forgive, at other times we are the ones receiving forgiveness Forgiveness carries with it great power, freedom and independence, but as a church we also bear great responsibility. A responsibility to remain faithful to the promise given to us by God. A responsibility to use the authority given to us to answer the call to do God's will in the world. Trust in the Lord your God - God is trusting in you. May God bless the youth in our community to discover God's forgiveness in their lives.