Thursday, April 21, 2016

Do not be Conformed...

"Our consumer culture is organized against history. There is a depreciation of memory and a ridicule of hope, which means everything must be held in the now, either an urgent now or an eternal now."
Walter Brueggemann in his book The Prophetic Imagination, 1978

   I have to read it a couple of times to get it, but when I do I proclaim, Amen! The world wants everything now. Modern culture tries to force us to squeeze all of history into the mere present. Things have to be done now. People trust less, because that requires faith in the future. People value the past less, because we've bought into the myth that it is not relevant to the present. Of course, the culture is wrong!
   God, through the church, calls us to hold the present in tension with the past and the future. The present matters, but so do the past and the future. There is more to history than right now, which is why we read from the sacred texts of the Bible every week in worship and teach our children to memorize them every month. We sing songs that were not written to sell records. We gather in a place that was built by the hands of others who came before us. We go forth believing that our purpose in life is larger than our appetite or needs or impulses. This is the very essence of the church's counter-cultural response. Paul pleads with us not to be conformed to the culture of this world in Romans 12.
   Confirmation is also about honoring history, empowering our sense of memory, and finding hope in both the past and the future. As Confirmation Sunday approaches this weekend, I am looking back on the past three months spent in close proximity with the young people who have participated. I am in awe of what a blessing it has been for me personally. They are smart, funny, engaged, and every moment spent with them has been a tremendous gift. I am thankful to Matt Martin for his steady and faithful leadership in the lives of these young people. I am thankful to all of the parents who helped these young people to keep this a priority.
   The young people who stand in front of the church are embracing the past and staking a claim in the future. This is the calling on everyone of us, every day. We trust the Creator from our past, the Savior of our present, and seek the Spirit who leads us into the future with hope.
   Grace and Peace, Scott

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