This past Sunday, my husband and I attended the Confirmation service for our 14-year-old grandson, Eric. How appropriate and special to have Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday.
Pentecost is one of the three major holidays in the church. What are the three major Christian holidays? Easter, Christmas, and Pentecost. Most people remember Easter and Christmas, but many forget about Pentecost.
Pentecost is the Christian holiday celebrated on the 50th day (the seventh Sunday) after Easter Sunday. Pentecost is the birth of the church. People remember the birth of Jesus Christ, but forget about the birth of the church.
The message to the Confirmation students compared our world today to the way things were in the 1970’s when the pastor, himself, was confirmed. He compared today’s high cost of gasoline to the gas shortage in the 70’s. Do you remember the long lines at gas stations in the 70’s? Do you remember when you could only buy gas on even numbered days if your license plate ended with an even number, or on odd numbered days if your license plate ended with an odd number?
He talked about when he and his brothers watched the coyote on the Roadrunner cartoons. They laughed about the roadrunner tying an anvil to himself and jumping off a cliff. However, he and his brothers never tried to do that. They knew the cartoons they watched were fake and not real.
Today we don’t know what is real and what is fake. We even edit our lives, especially on Facebook. We see only the happy family times on Facebook. People don’t usually post pictures of their family members when they are angry, arguing, in pain, or crying.
One of the major issues today is not knowing what is real and what is fake. Maybe we have fake friends on Facebook. After all, don’t most of us have the goal to have as many Facebook friends as possible? The higher number of Facebook friends you have, the more popular you seem to be. How many of our Facebook friends are real friends and how many are fake friends?
Is there fake love? Fake news? How about fake faith? Do any of us only go to church on Sunday and show our faith for one hour of the week?
Do we demonstrate our faith on Monday morning when we get up and face the work week? Real faith is knowing that Jesus is with us always, even when times are tough, even when we are hurting or in pain.
Real faith is our saving grace for we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. God's Word says that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus and not by our own efforts or works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The pastor also talked about how today we have weapons and violence. Remember the Viet Nam war? There were weapons and there was much violence. Today we talk about how the world is a much more evil place that it has ever been before. However, is that opinion real or is it fake?
We can turn to our Bibles and read about weapons, violence, and evil. Even before guns were ever made, rocks were used as weapons. Cain and Abel were Adam and Eve’s sons, and Cain killed Abel with a stone. There have always been weapons.
Violence. We can read in the Bible about the many kings, including King David, who were violent.
Evil. We can read in the Bible about evil and how much evil was in the world then.
A crisis of Hope is the real issue today. Hope. Jesus Christ brought Hope into our world. But how many people today have Hope? How many people are living without hope? How many people are hopeless?
Hopeless people turn to violence. Hopeless people do evil. Hopeless people use weapons to kill others.
The crisis today is a shortage of Hope. What can we do to spread the hope and love of Jesus Christ to a hurting world?