May 22, 2022 (Confirmation Sunday)

Prayer of the Day

Bountiful God, you gather your people into your realm, and you promise us food from your tree of life. Nourish us with your word, that empowered by your Spirit we may love one another and the world you have made, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Amen.

Acts 16:9-15

9During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

11We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. 13On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. 15When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

Altar commemorating Lydia’s Baptism   —  Thyatira, Macedonia

Psalm 67

1May God be merciful to | us and bless us;
  may the light of God’s face | shine upon us.
2Let your way be known | upon earth,
  your saving health a- | mong all nations.
3Let the peoples praise | you, O God;
  let all the | peoples praise you.
4Let the nations be glad and | sing for joy,
  for you judge the peoples with equity and guide all the nations on earth. 
5Let the peoples | praise you, O God;
  let all the | peoples praise you.
6The earth has brought | forth its increase;
  God, our own | God, has blessed us.
7May God | give us blessing,
  and may all the ends of the earth | stand in awe. 

Revelation 21:10, 22–22:5

10And in the spirit [one of the angels] carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.
22I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
22:1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

John 14:23-29

23Jesus answered [Judas (not Iscariot),] “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
25“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”

Sermon – Pastor Meggan Manlove and Confirmands

This morning I am simply setting the framework for you to hear the faith stories of our two confirmands, Jason and Giada. I never would have selected this passage from Acts for Affirmation of Baptism Sunday, but it’s a good one. First, I want to back up and read the verses preceding what Tami Robinson read.

6 [Paul and Timothy] went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; 8so, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 

Sometimes I think it would be great if the Holy Spirit was this direct with my individually, our congregation, and the larger church in our era. The story from Acts 9, Paul and Timothy’s travels through their time with Lydia, was the story we explored at our Northwest Intermountain Synod Regional Gathering in Burley last Saturday. Six of us from Trinity, along with over 50 others spent time in triads reflecting on the story. 

We were asked when and how we had an experience or challenge in the past two years like Paul and Timothy? A second question followed, was there something new that came out of the experience or challenge? And finally, was there an unexpected blessing we could see now?

Much of Giada’s and Jason’s stories are shaped by similar reflections about their entire lives. These young disciples are well practiced in seeing God at work in their lives, often in unanticipated and surprising ways. 

I was also struck, reading their faith stories or statements ahead of time, how steeped our youth have been in the faith practices in our passage from acts: prayer, meaningful conversation, hearing or reading the Word of God, and hospitality. 

And I love most of all that we read that it was outside the gate by the river, where they all sat down and spoke together. The river is also prominent in our reading from Revelation. The natural world overwhelms in Idaho to anyone paying attention. Mountains, lakes, valleys, canyons, and rivers are places where we cannot but help but be reminded of the God who made all things and the Holy Spirit who sustains us still. Giada and Jason and most of us gathered here have been impacted for better by the landscapes of the Mountain West.

Finally, the Holy Spirit is the driver, in our story from Acts, in the faith stories we will soon hear, and in the affirmation of faith ritual itself. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit which sustains and leads each of us and the church collectively. So now let us hear how the Spirit has been at work specifically in two people’s lives.

Jason’s Faith Statement

Hello everyone, 

Thank you for coming to church this sunday. I will start today by introducing myself. My name is Jason Mills, and I have been part of Trinity Lutheran Church all of my life. My faith journey started a while back in September 2019 and I had just lost my dog Rosco. I went up to Luther Heights as part of my conformation class. When I got there, I was thinking about leaving that night because I didn’t think that I could handle being away from home. It was a challenging time for me. I’m grateful I had a huge amount of support through this time from friends who were up there. I became closer with a very special person by the name of Kelly Preboski, the new camp director up at luther heights, who I barely knew. She talked me through my struggles, and made sure everything would be okay. 

The following day, I was feeling sad but wanted to make the most of this opportunity. Soon, I open my mind to this crazy idea that following what God wants for me is more than just reading the bible. I needed to understand that God is with me all the time. The Holy Spirit is working in ways that are not clearly always clearly recognized. The following year, Covid hit and I was stuck in the house with nothing to do. Luther Heights was closed like most other things but I had just started to open my mind to Christ and became optimistic as to what I could learn. 

Finally, I got to go back to my church and was excited to start paying attention to the service. I heard about a youth program coming up. The Luther Heights program came up with a new idea called L.I.T. which stands for Leader In Training. After learning more about it, I knew that is what I wanted to do last summer. When I got there, I couldn’t believe what a great opportunity it 

was. I met 7 other amazing L.I.T’s who had made the same choice as me to go up to camp. I loved how diverse and relatable that we were. 

One thing that kept sticking out to me during bible study every day was the book in the bible by the name Corithians.It spoke to me as a book. I could relate to and find answers that made sense to me very quickly. Part of Corinthians is Chapter 12: verse 12. It sums up what I saw a lot of with people at camp, it reads: 

For just as the body is one and has many members and all the members of the body though many are one body so it is with Christ. 

This verse was immediately shown by the camp counselors and how all of them felt called. They were part of something bigger than they could by themselves. Yet, all of what they were experiencing belonged to them individually. I see my faith take many shapes, forms, pathways, and roads. But I know that the place I go, is where I will belong. Just like how I felt like I belonged as an L.I.T this last summer. 

The best experiences in my faith journey come from the people. There I find myself becoming more connected to everyone and my own self. 

There is where I felt accepted, loved and maybe sometimes a little confused to be around. The rest of my time as an L.I.T went by really slow and I don’t quite know why. It could have been the cute little kid that I stayed up with until 1 in the morning because he was home sick and 

needed to have someone sit with him until he fell asleep, or the endless questions I got from everyone in my cabin asking me what time are we gonna go get food or do I have to sing this song.I created a group of close friends up at camp that I feel like I could tell anything to before the first week was over. The experience changed my faith forever in more ways than I can explain,to name a couple. The best experiences in my faith journey come from the people. There I find myself becoming more connected to everyone and my own self. 

This other verse from Corinthian 1 -13:13 is another great verse. It says “And now these three remain; faith,hope, and love abide by these three and the greatest of these is love.”
Love was one that took a while, but is a strong part of who I am as a person and as a member of my community. Hope is another thing that has shaped me in the eyes of faith. It doesn’t matter the views of people who have not seen God, but I have hope that he will come and show them as well for me. I continue to have hope and trust in the people that are in my life. 

To the many and all people in my church that have changed my faith. I say thank you. To name a few: Pastor Megan for being my pastor for as long as I can remember, Tammy Torrey and Steve and Renee VanAtter, for being a big part of making sure I stay on the right path as a youth at this church. David Sheriff, for sitting down with me and having one of the deepest most life changing discussions that give me a different perspective on life. Specifically, how I should cherish every part of my life and never take anything for granted. My parents who raised me and brought me to church every Sunday and a couple Wednesdays, even when I didn’t feel like it. And last, but not least, for encouraging me to go to camp and experience that once in a lifetime experience year after year. 

For those wondering what is next for me on my faith journey? I can say confidently that this is not the end of the journey for me. I will continue to explore and live out my faith, through love and hope. I will continue to be an active member of our worship leaders: whether It be doing sound and video, crucifer, acolyte, or lector. I will continue to go to Luther Heights as a L.I.T and progress as I get older into being part of kitchen staff until I have the opportunity to be a counselor. I hope that as I get older, I can become someone that helps younger youth like I once was. To find their purpose in life. I want to show them the path that God has created for them so that they can connect with Him and continue to live and grow in their faith, as I did. 

Giada’s Faith Statement

The most important part of my faith is trusting the path God has for me. I wanted to start off my faith statement with a bible verse from the book of Psalms. Psalm 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped. And my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” The way I receive this verse is that the Lord will hear my calls and he will protect me and guide me to be strong. I want to thank my family for always supporting me and wanting what’s best for me. I know I can be a little sassy and spoiled sometimes but I really do appreciate everything that you guys do for me, and I know that I wouldn’t be who I am today without you guys. Choosing people who impacted my faith was difficult because the whole congregation has. So many of you have been here for me growing up in this church. I have been here since I was a baby, and there have been many people who have had an influence in my faith. Some of these people consist of the Wards, Penelope, the Mills, Amanda, Sandy and Sharon, and the list goes on. But thank you to those people because you guys definitely made going to church more enjoyable as a kid. But there are 3 main people who have really taught me about God and helped me grow in my faith. First is Pastor Meggan, Pastor has really impacted my faith journey because she is always pushing us to be involved and pushes us to bring out our best abilities. Even if you don’t want to do something or if you are scared to, she will encourage you to do it, and when you look back on it you are glad you did. One thing I love about Pastor is that she supports our congregation outside of church.  She has shown up to some of my basketball games and it shows that she cares about me and I really appreciate it. I think it’s amazing that she puts time into getting to know the people from her congregation better. The second person is Mrs. Renee, she played an important role in educating me about God and our religion as a child. I remember going to Crop Walks with her and having to memorize the Lord’s Prayer in her class. I always wanted to sit next to her when I was younger because she’s such a welcoming and sweet person and I think anyone in this church would say the same. The last person is Mrs. Tammy.  She taught me about God and the bible as I got older but she always made it fun. we always had a super fun craft, and I remember having toilet paper roll fights. Mrs. Tammy is the kindest soul you will ever meet and she cares a lot about the kids in church. I don’t think I have ever seen her at church without a smile on her face. This church means a lot to me, and I have gained family-like bonds and even best friends from it.

            One of the places I feel closest to God is definitely at camp. I have made such amazing memories at camp over the years, but one of my favorites was the second or third year I went to camp. It was the first year I went with Alexa and I had a huge crush on the boy cabin counselor. We were splitting up to do activities and he was going to do basketball so I obviously chose that one because the love of my life was leading it. But I go play basketball and I was the only girl there and I remember going back to the cabin and talking to Alexa about how I had probably impressed him. Another one of my favorite memories was when Penelope was driving us back from camp that year and we stopped in Hailey to get lunch at Shorty’s diner. It was Alexa, Jason, Michael and I with Penelope. We were looking at the menus and deciding what to eat when the waitress came to take our order. Michael then asked the waitress if they served horse and the memory has stayed with me ever since. Church isn’t just a place to worship God it’s also a place to create relationships. That’s why I love church campouts because I get to spend time with some people from church that are like family to me. I have some really good memories like, Alexa and I driving up to the campout and watching Barbie, going into Jason’s tiny tent and watching dance moms, launching off each others shoulders at the lake, and playing games in the dark which didn’t really end well. 

I know that God is always with me, and that there are reasons people come in and out of your life and sometimes things won’t go your way but it can end up being what is best. There have been times where I have lost way in my faith and have been angry or upset at God for putting me through things. Last year I was getting ready for basketball practice when I found out that my grandparents were moving to Illinois. I tried to act strong and not be upset about it, but it was a really hard thing for me to go through. My grandparents had been there my whole life and suddenly they were moving to a different state. This would mean no more going to their house and beating them in Trouble or Kings in the Corner, no more candy muffins or delicious lefse, no more going out for breakfast in the morning and asking for extra crispy bacon. I didn’t really comprehend that they were leaving until they came to say goodbye. I know it wasn’t an easy thing for them to do either, but everyone knew it was for the best. Another time I have been angry at God was during my basketball season, I had gotten a stress fracture in my back halfway through the season. The injury caused me to be out for the remainder of it, but even though I couldn’t step on the court in my uniform I still involved myself with my team and the sport I love playing. I was confused why out of everyone, I was being put through this. One of the worst feelings is watching your team and some of your best friends have fun and succeed without you. This experience was really hard because I couldn’t do the thing I love with the people I love. I didn’t understand what I had done to deserve it, but after all the hard work and physical therapy I realized that it was a learning experience. I got to see things from a different angle and really figure out that I shouldn’t take things for granted. When these things happen it’s hard to believe that Gods doing what’s best for you. But even through all the anger and sadness, you will always find your way back to God and you have to remember that he will always love you and accept you. I plan to continue to grow in my faith and still be an active part in the church. This summer I have amazing opportunities that will help me strengthen my relationship with God. I am going to be an LIT up at Luther Heights in July which I’m super excited about. We also have our youth trip to Minneapolis which I think will be a really good learning experience and a good way to give to the community. Hopefully in the future I will be able to continue to serve at camp and here at Trinity. 

Prayers (Sundays and Seasons)

Set free from captivity to sin and death, we pray to the God of resurrection for the church, people in need, and all of creation.

A brief silence.

God of new life, open your church to the unexpected ways your Spirit is at work. Guide bishops, pastors, deacons, and lay leaders in their visioning, partnership, and planning. Surround us with your peace. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Give a vision of increase and abundant harvest for farmers, laborers, and gardeners who are beginning their growing season. Join their efforts with the goodness of creation to feed all living things. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Shine your light of wisdom and peace among nations. When those in power seek to assert dominance over others, confound their ways and make them yield to your humble authority. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Give safe haven to those who seek healing, liberation, or peace (especially). Create places filled with hospitality where hurting people find your loving presence and wholeness. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Uphold the work of ministries and organizations in our communities who assist people experiencing homelessness, citizens returning from prison, and all marginalized people (especially). Accomplish your will through their efforts. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Assemble your people at rivers, streams, and fonts, where we remember our baptism and welcome others into the communion of saints. Gather us with those who have died (especially) when we meet together at your river of life. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

In your mercy, O God, respond to these prayers, and renew us by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Amen.

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