Congratulations to all of you. Memorizing all that’s been required of you this year is not easy. I’ve been leading services in the Malott Chapel for quite some time and over the years I’ve seen so many 3rd graders, maybe some of your older brothers and sisters, working through the Ten Commandments, the 23rd Psalm, the Beatitudes. My son and his classmates recited these same verses on these very steps. I know how hard you’ve worked on this all year long. So all of you deserve the praise and admiration that your parents, family and friends will give to you on this day.
In just a few minutes, Dr. Evertsberg will present each of you with a shiny new Bible embossed with your name. All year long, we’ve talked about so many of the stories that are found in this book. I think one of the cool things about this book is that, through it’s stories, we can see how to live our lives the way God wants us to live.
Can you remember back to March and to the story of Mary and Martha? The Gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus and his disciples are welcomed into their home. As Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to what he was saying, Martha was busy, perhaps cleaning up the house or preparing a meal for her guests. When Martha complains to Jesus that Mary isn’t helping her, Jesus gently tells her that Mary is the one doing the right thing, listening to the words of Jesus. Now, I’m not telling you that it’s OK to ignore your Mom or Dad if they ask you to clean up your room or to come and set the table for dinner. But if you ask nicely if you can finish reading a story in the Bible before you start your chores, I bet they might agree!
So when you get home today and in the months and years to come, open this book up and read its stories. These are the stories of ordinary men and women. Shepherds and slaves, kings and revolutionaries. All of them human, all of them sinners like us. But all of them loved by the God who created them. All of them forgiven.
by God’s own son, who came here to earth to look us in the eye and tell us face to face – GOD LOVES YOU. GOD LOVES YOU. AND YOU AND YOU AND YOU and all of us here today.
This old Bible of mine looks like its seen better days doesn’t it. I got this Bible from the minister of my church when I was just 7 years old. It is my great hope that 47 years from now, all of those shiny new Bibles that you’re going to be receiving here shortly look like this one, well worn after years of reading and re-reading.
This is a book that is filled with love. This is the book that tells us that goodness and mercy follow us every day of our lives because God loves us. This is the book that tells us that if you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you will be satisfied with God’s love. This is the book that tells us that nothing can keep us from God’s love.
Back in March, I said that in order to live the life that God wants for us, we need to know God’s word and that Jesus came to us to give us.
God’s personal message of love. I reminded you that this very day was just ahead, the day when you would stand on these steps, just like so many before you, to receive your very own copy of God’s word, God’s roadmap for living a good and faithful life. We won’t have Jesus physically showing up at our door to tell us the word of God. But we can talk to Jesus and to God in prayer and we are always heard. And we can be reminded of the lessons of our faith by reading the Bible.
So enough talking! Pastor Katie, Dr. Evertsberg… let’s hand out some Bibles!