Rally Sunday, September 16, 2018

September 16, 2018  

2 Timothy 3:14-17

I was born to be a pastor.

I learned to be a good teacher.

Both are important and both are a part of who I am.

Which is why today is so dog-gone important to me. Because on this day: Rally Day, we are all called to rally ourselves, to rally our minds and our spirits around the Word of God. On this day we remember and we embrace that we are called to enter into a discipline of learning and teaching. We need to know and to understand what it means to be a child of God; we need to k now and to understand what it means to be God’s servants in the world.

A scholar wrote about the verses I just read from 2 Timothy:

The purpose of Scripture is the purpose of good schooling—to produce the well-instructed and disciplined adult, proficient and well equipped in the graces and skills required for a positive role in church and society…

                                    (The New Interpreter’s Bible vol. 11, p. 852)

Which is just a fancy way of saying we want to grow good kids here, and we want to have understanding adults. We want our adults to understand holy scripture, to understand Lutheran tradition, to understand the things we need to know as followers of Christ so we can teach our children.

Learning is lifelong.

Which is why we begin today a journey we are calling AB-Yes!


Affirmation of Baptism.

To affirm is to say “yes” to something. To affirm our baptism is to say yes to what God has done in our lives.

Saying “yes” to baptism is to say “uh huh!” Saying “yes” to baptism is to say “I want to be a child of God. Saying “yes” to baptism is to say I want to be a follower of Christ. Saying “yes” to baptism is to say I celebrate that I have been washed in the waters of baptism; I celebrate that God has cleansed me of my sin. Saying “uh huh” is to say that I know God forgives me and I revel in that forgiveness.

AB-Yes! is a process I have designed for use here at Our Savior’s, a learning process that one can begin in third grade, if one chooses, or later if one wants. AB-Yes! is a learning process anyone at any age can take part in. AB-Yes! takes the place of what was once known as confirmation, and it takes the place of what was once known as Sunday School. AB-Yes! is our attempt to embrace the needs of modern families while at the same time calling all of us at all ages to think about our need to learn about our faith and our need to affirm our faith—to say “yes!” to God and God’s gracious activity again and again and again.

We begin AB-Yes! this morning, with this sermon and with the intergenerational learning experience I will lead in Fellowship Hall, beginning at 10:30am. It will end by 11am.

I was thinking about my own experiences as a child, growing up in a traditional Lutheran family, going to worship and to Sunday School every week. I was trying to remember what Sunday School was like for me, what we did.

I actually began remembering a lot of things: memorizing bible verses, singing songs, collecting offerings to send overseas, doing crafts. I remember high school Sunday School, my teacher and the books we read together and the incredible conversations we had. My favorite memory was from when I was in Sunday School as a youngster. I remember my classmates and myself sitting around a kidney shaped table. I remember looking across the huge room at other children sitting at other kidney shaped tables. I remember seeing another member of my family leaning with his/her head under the table, picking his/her nose. I remember feeling mortified! And amused.

Learning in the context of a congregation is vital. We need to learn what our faith tells us about what it means to live in this world. We need to learn what scripture teaches us about ourselves and about others. We need to learn what God expects of us as God’s children—whatever our age.

Most importantly, we need to learn all the different ways God expresses God’s love for us and for the world.

This is why we rally today.

This is why we gather. To hear. To learn. To know. To believe. To share. To have hope in God’s wonderful promises.