There are traditions and ceremonies in our Lutheran church that often are mistaken for doctrinal necessities, just as there are doctrinal teachings that are believed to be traditions and ceremonies. For example, Baptism is a sacrament and is founded on the words of Christ Jesus, “Go into the world and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” It is a doctrine of our Lutheran Church that baptism is a means of God’s grace. The act of baptizing is tradition or ceremony: sprinkle, pour, dunk – all right and all based on the tradition of the congregation. Trinity is an “evangelical” Lutheran Church. Simply defined, this word means Trinity teaches and confesses Christian faith in accordance with the Gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, who gave His life for our redemption and salvation, is proclaimed loud and clear. Beginning with every infant and family that pass through the education center or who come to the Baptismal Font for washing, Trinity offers a unique education of love, grace and mercy.
On Sunday, May 7, Trinity’s congregation will participate in the public witness of Christian Lutheran belief from two young members. Taylor and Brandon spent two years purposefully studying the doctrines of the Lutheran Church in-depth. They seriously questioned and learned why we believe in a Triune God, Jesus is both God and Man, Redemption is through faith alone in what Jesus and God have already done for us, Eternal Life belongs to every person who believes Jesus is Lord, and without the Holy Spirit I can do nothing at all to understand or know God. This process of study and confession culminates in a traditional ceremony called Confirmation. It is not a rite of passage, or a tradition, or ceremony, or a special ticket for entry into heaven. Confirmation is confirming that the planted seed of faith at baptism is growing.
For Taylor it means this:
Jesus’ death is important to me because it reminds me of the everlasting love given to me every day by my Father. I am constantly grateful that I have the opportunity to be loved so greatly by someone so powerful and kind. I have not always been kind to God, and I fell out of faith for a while, but as I came back, I realized that God can’t control the sin the devil brings into my life, but the fact that he sent his son to die for me and my faith is forgiven is so kind and I am undeserving of that. I appreciate all God has done for me and hope that my faith will continue to grow.
For Brandon it means this:
I believe that Jesus died on the cross so that all our sins would be forgiven. I am grateful God gave his only son to die on the cross for me and everyone else on this planet earth so we can have eternal life in heaven. Jesus is our savior. He died on the cross so all sinners people could become part of God’s family and believe the truth and share their knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. It is important to know that God and Jesus Christ are always there for you when times are tough. I trust and believe that no matter what the answer to my prayer may be, God is taking care of me and doing what is best for me always. I have not learned everything there is to know about God and my faith in Confirmation instruction. This is my first step for me. I ask that you all pray for me to continue learning and growing closer to God.
For all Christians, there are no traditions or ceremonies more precious than the simple faith of a child. Jesus knows that and told us so: “Unless you become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) So, be trusting and unpretentious; forget about tradition, ceremony, and rites. The Gospel of God’s grace and mercy – someone so powerful and kind – is this: God is doing what is best for me always; Jesus’ death reminds me of the everlasting love that is mine because He wants me to have it. Christian Lutheran education is never ending. Taylor and Brandon are traveling on the same road they began at their baptisms and we rejoice they see the path through the eyes of a risen Savior and loving God.