It’s the time of year where seniors in High School and College across the country contract the disease called “senioritis.” It is characterized by a lack of motivation as they approach their pending graduation. The best remedy seems to be to allow time and a graduation to pass and for real life to take hold. Motivation typically returns in a matter of months when they realize that life post-graduation is often more work than pre-graduation. Ah, graduation season!
But what motivates us to grand accomplishments once we graduate? What are our goals? Where is life taking us? For many of us, life settles into one great big routine that continues to cycle endlessly. Every once in a while we realize that we’ve been working really hard and have seemingly gotten nowhere. Is life simply a series of repetitive tasks? Or is there more? Even when we have achieved some great feat, another day comes and the routine continues. What does Jesus say about our daily lives?
Jesus shows us a continual need for the grace of God in our daily lives. In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray “Give us this day our daily bread.” We need God to provide for today, or we won’t even see tomorrow. Jesus also says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” That cross is the daily struggle to live Godly lives in the midst of a sinful, cruel world. Living for God can be hard work! Yet we also take comfort in Luther’s explanation of the forgiving power of our baptism, “[Baptism] indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”
This month four young people from our congregation will have the opportunity to declare publically that they believe that God does daily drown their old sinful nature and allow for a new, forgiven person to emerge. They will confess with their own lips what was confessed over them at their baptism. Some may confuse this with a graduation, that these young people can now relax, but we know better. So do they. Now it begins. Their confession of faith now has them standing on their own two feet in God’s service. Now we see what God does with these young people to serve Him. I am confident that God will daily do great things through them.
“…that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6