Let us pray: Dear Savior, thank You for leading us to saving faith in You and thank You for confirming that faith in us by the Spirit’s power. May we always turn to You for help in good times and not-so-good times, trusting in Your mercy and grace. For then life will never be a disappointment but an ongoing blessing. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR NEWLY ASCENDED LORD!
TEXT: I Peter 5: 6: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Fellow Redeemed Sinners, and Especially You, Alex and Matthew:
Whew! Now you both can breath a sigh of relief! The examination is over. I know you were both nervous about it. I was too when I was confirmed 40 years ago. I know you both prayed to Christ to take your butterflies away, too. And obviously He heard your prayer and answered it! Yes, you both just lived a microcosm of our text where St. Peter says: “Cast all your anxieties upon Him because He cares for you.”
Life holds a series of challenges for every believer—some good ones that God lays before us, and some bad ones that the devil and our sinful flesh create all on their own. And the worst challenges come when we start feeling we’re all alone in life. When grandma gets sick and dies, often we feel we have to face such emptiness alone. When we get sick or suffer an injury, facing it alone breeds uncertainty and anxiety. And pretty soon you end up making the situation worse than it really is by heaping anxiety upon worry which can lead to depression. You don’t eat. You don’t sleep. Life holds no joy. Just having someone to share it all with who really understands and better yet, can help us, well, that makes it all better. And today you’ve pledged allegiance to that special Someone Who’s always around to help and assist you. Yes, our ascended Lord Christ cares deeply for both of you and all of us. He proved it by dying in your place on a cross and rising to a new life to give you that new, anxiety-free life through faith.
Imagine how the disciples felt on that first ascension day? They had certainly faced a lot of anxiety over the last few weeks leading up to Christ’s ascension–hard, bitter anxiety. They had gone from the excitement of Palm Sunday to the bitter reality of Good Friday. They had seen their Lord, their hope for eternal life, bleed and die on the cross. They had seen His dead body laid in the grave. On the surface, all their prayers for deliverance seemed nothing, whisperings into the wind. Then came Easter and happiness, joy, and a new lease on life. Following that came the next 40 days where Jesus did many signs and wonders before them and helped instill in them a backbone of steel. Finally, ascension day arrives. Up till now they had leaned on Jesus. He was right there with them. They could see, touch, and talk to Him. And now as He visibly ascends into glory, they are left all alone. They knew He was going back to a heavenly homecoming. They knew joy awaited Him there and they were happy for Him. But, a little part of each of them said: “What about me? Will I be able to be strong in my faith in His absence? Will I crumble? Will I turn my back on Him like Judas?”
All of us sitting here today have entertained similar thoughts, especially when confronted by the evil of this world. “What will I do if my newly born child has a physical defect? How will I handle it if my wife or husband’s health incapacitates them? Where will I turn if I lose my job? Will I go to pieces when my mom or dad dies?” Yes, if we had to face such troubles alone, we know we’d crumble inside. We think we’re strong enough to handle them, but we know we’re not. But, that’s where our Christian faith comes in and takes over! For when we follow Peter’s words and give our worries and anxieties to Christ, He eagerly takes those burdens from us. He cares for us. And in our process of just letting go, He begins healing our hearts and filling us with confidence once again. Your confirmation day is a formal reminder of that fact. Don’t ever forget that truth if you want a blessed life.
Our ascended Lord physically left us here on earth, but He really hasn’t left us alone. From the reality of heaven He sees all things and works hard each day at guiding and protecting us. He also works hard at pulling us out of emotional turmoil by giving us His life-changing Word of truth and His holy supper in order to make us strong in Him. Ascension began that process in the disciples. It was their confirmation. And they held onto the image of their Lord rising from the earth, His words of blessing upon them, and the angel’s message that Christ would come again, well, they held onto those things for the rest of their lives and changed the world. You both need to do so, too, if you want to fight the good fight of faith and come out a winner.
St. Peter was a wise man. God made him so through the school of hard knocks. And right here he gives each of us: A LIFE LESSON FOR THE CHRISTIAN. That lesson is: “Cast all your anxieties upon Him because He cares for you.” Because when you do, you’re never alone….Amen