It being Memorial Day weekend, I got to thinking about how being a disciple of Jesus Christ is like getting called up to serve in the military. First of all, like the U.S. military, the church has an all-volunteer army. But in the church, you can even enlist as a baby. Joining up only requires that you get baptized. Your baptismal certificate takes the place of enlistment papers. But there's another similarity between the church and the military. Once you're signed up, you must submit to a higher authority. Only here you don't belong to Uncle Sam; you belong to Jesus Christ. And I should probably tell you, Jesus has a stop loss policy, too. In fact, there is no leave from this duty. There is no end of service contract. And there's no such thing as a reserve soldier of Christ. Here is a big difference between the church and the army: Being a follower of Jesus is a fulltime, lifetime active-duty commitment.
The author of First Peter wants us come to Jesus, our living stone. [I Peter 2:4] Now there's an odd image when you first hear it. What is a living stone? It's not a Rolling Stone. When they get up on stage anymore, we're not sure all of them are still living. And it's not the people of Colorado, now that they've legalized marijuana. They would be living stoners. No, the question is what does it mean to say that Jesus is a living stone?
I have been so excited! This is a ministry first for me. I've never confirmed anywhere near 17 youth all in one day. With a couple of baptisms to boot, this is one happy pastor today! I thought instead of a sermon, I would read a brief letter to the confirmands and their congregation, a kind of baccalaureate address, I guess. Here goes: