Confirmation Journey, Pt3
Finding Your Roots
Where does my faith come from?
Whether you were born into a Christian family or randomly stumbled upon faith, we can all agree on the fact that faith is more than just our personal discovery. It came from somewhere, and it was passed down to us by someone, whether that is our family members, friends, neighbors, or total strangers (revivalists, evangelists, random billboards on highways, or even a Superbowl commercial). And what the students and I will be doing in the next couple of weeks is tracing our faith history and heritage, and ultimately connecting the dots between Jesus’ faith and our faith.
Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.
My paternal grandmother became a Christian in her teenage years before the Korean War. She lived by Korea’s western seashore, and her town had frequent contact with western missionaries. She was eventually evangelized by one of the American Methodist missionaries in her town. My grandmother later met her husband at a church. But he apparently stopped going to church after their marriage. So, the legend is my grandmother took her four boys to church every Sunday walking a couple of miles on foot. And ultimately, my grandfather recommitted himself to Christ in his 40s and served as a well-respected leader at his church for the remainder of his life.
When I think about this small snippet of one part of my family, I think about the word “devotion.” The devotion of my grandmother, and the devotion of my grandfather that came after. As well as the devotion of those western missionaries who traveled thousands of miles to share the gospel. All I can wonder is what made them so devoted to their faith in Christ. And I can only continue to wonder when I trace back 2,000 years of history, which goes all the way back to the stories of the Bible, including our church’s namesake, Saint Stephen who devoted his life to Christ (Acts 6-7).
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
This family heritage and history give me a sense of wonder and appreciation that this faith we are dealing with is much more than my individual choice. It is a gift that has been passed down to our hands so mysteriously. Perhaps this gift is what we call “grace.” And confirmation/baptism is all about making a decision on what we are going to do about this grace.