Greetings, fellow disciples of Jesus Christ,
We make and receive a lot of promises throughout our lives. Friends promise to write. Husbands and wives exchange vows before God and everybody. Children promise to call. We promise ourselves, “This is the last time,” for some activity or habit.
Human promises don’t have a great track record. We give our word and break it. We fall short of the ideals we have set forth in our relationships with others. When promises get broken we get wary of trusting the people who made and then broke them. Whom can we trust?
We’re not alone in making promises. God is a promise-maker. He gives His Word to us and invites us to hold Him accountable for it. He issues the promise precisely so we’ll use it, call Him on it, say to Him, “God, You promised!”
At baptism God promised to be your Father; that you would be His child forever, sins forgiven on account of Jesus’ death and resurrection. All our lives long we can return to baptism and use this promise. When we doubt whether God truly loves us, we can remember our baptism and know that He does. When we wonder if we have gone a step too far this time and wandered beyond the realm of His grace, we can return to baptism and remember that “while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
God didn’t make the promise to us because of our innate goodness, our worthiness, our deserving nature. No, God promised to give us the kingdom and care for us because He is good. His steadfast love endures forever. He is always trustworthy. He has and will always come through on His promises. In the words of a gospel song, “He never failed me yet.”
Throughout our lives we have opportunities to return again and again to baptism and discover anew the goodness and faithfulness of God. One significant moment of this remembrance for many in our tradition is the “rite of confirmation” (alternatively called, “Affirmation of Baptism”). In this rite, individuals publicly confess the faith of the Church—which they themselves believe—and say “yes” to God’s even greater “YES!” in baptism.
On this Sunday, October 31—Reformation Sunday—five young members of our congregation will make public confession of their faith in Jesus and their trust in God’s promise made to them in baptism. Please keep these young men and young woman in your prayers this week: Benjamin, Landon, Eric, Connor, and Sadie. Consider, too, your own baptism and God’s promise to you. Call on Him and you will find Him to be faithful.
The Lord be with you.