Sunday, May 07, 2006

Confirmation Sunday

Today was Confirmation Sunday at our church. After a year of meeting with these kids weekly, it was really touching for me to watch them profess with their mouths that they believe Jesus is Lord. Two of the kids have learning disabilites and one is autistic. During the Confirmation service, after I share the gospel with the congregation by explaining Ephesians 2:8,9 and Romans 10:9, I say to the Confirmation students, "Please declare what you believe in your hearts."

All year long they have been memorizing the Apostles Creed. We spend the whole year discussing the doctrines contained in each line. The Sunday before they are confirmed, I tell the students that this is real. This is the time when they publically express that Jesus is their Lord. I tell them that if they don't believe any part of the Apostles Creed, don't say it. Leave it out. I tell them that they are welcome to make their own statement of their beliefs (with the understanding that it will satisfy the intention of Romans 10:9).

Last week, one of the guys with a learning disability asked if he could go first to get it over with. I said sure. He started off by saying, "I believe in the communion of saints..." He was really off track at first. Then he paused and started over and rattled it off. The autistic boy said something like, "I believe in God the Father, in Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, and in life, life forever."

When this guy was saying this, I lost it. I started weeping. For two years, his grandmother had been going over the Confirmation curriculum with him at home. He's not able to sit in regular classes with other kids. He gets very anxious and begins biting himself and screaming. Now, here he was, making his profession of faith in Christ. I felt incredibly unworthy to be his pastor.

The rest of the kids just rocked it out with confidence and conviction. When I laid my hands on them and confirmed them with our Senior Pastor, it really felt like the real deal.

I've never broken down in a worship service except when doing funerals for people I know. I was so overwhelmed with humility and brokeness and gratitude, I had a hard time making it through the service. Thanks God, for letting me play a small part in your big work of saving other messed up people like me. Thanks for letting me talk to really awesome young people about your love poured out for them on the cross of Christ.

The Apostles' Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,

And in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried,
The third day he rose from the dead,
He ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of the throne of God,
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy catholic church,
The communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body,
And the life everlasting.


dwj said...

Jason, thanks for sharing and giving of yourself to our youth and to your congregation.

TN Rambler said...

It WAS the real deal. Thanks for caring and for sharing this with us.

Michael said...

Amen, and amen! What a testimony! Do you ever notice a difference in your emotions from baptizing an infant and witnessing the confirmation of children who are better able to speak for themselves? This is an awesome story!

Jason Woolever said...

hey guys, thanks for sharing the joy. michael, there is definitely a difference in emotions. i find that since i have my own little children, my emotions during childrens sermons (which I watch from a distance and don't do myself) and during infant baptisms are different as well. my 3-month-old daughter was baptized by the bishop at the beginning of my ordination service last summer. that was pretty wild. i think i'm getting more emotional in my old age.

Michael said...

When it involves our kids, those emotions get harder to control, especially when we directly witness the Lord's blessings on us through them.

Anonymous said...

I too was surprised at Christopher! there had been no mention to us that he would be reading aloud!
All it takes to get me goin is for someone else to start. Emotions are natural for most but for some like Furf (chris) it is hard to express.
To the congegation: Thanks for including him without judgment & for loving him. Aunt Judy