Gospel and Sermon: Matthew 7:
Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Amen.
Some of you of a certain age will remember the song “Knock, knock, on heaven’s door.” Sung by Bob Dylan and many others through time.
Today’s Gospel is an encouragement to do exactly that: knock not only on heaven’s door but knock on doors in general to be invited in, to discover what’s behind the door, to open locked closed doors, to create open spaces and needed draft, and not to be afraid to go and explore new places.
We do go through quite many doors in our lives. The parents of the wonderful Confirmands at one point went through the door to maternity ward and came out of the door as totally changed. Now parents for life. You walked through the doors to church to carry or follow your beloved child to the baptismal font- as you only wanted the best for your child: God’s blessing and God’s presence.
Today you all went through the doors again to get to church, to find your pews or to find your special red chair of honor. And we welcome all of you with the wonderful words of Christ when he spoke to the crowd on the mountain: “Ask, seek and knock. For everyone who asks receives, the one who seeks finds and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Today these beautiful 19 soon to be confirmands of the Danish Lutheran Church will walk over a new threshold, through new doors to embrace adolescence, youth and adulthood.
For most of our lives when growing up, our parents have been opening and closing doors for us: choosing which doors to open and choosing which doors to keep closed and locked. But today’s confirmation marks a time in your young lives, where you will have to knock on doors and go through doors, that your parents no longer can open for you. Some doors will be hard to open, some will jump wide open and others will need a key.
It is wonderfully fascinating and encouraging what Jesus tried to instill in his followers back then on the mountain and what his words still tries to instill in us right here in the pews on a sunny Sunday in April 2018.
Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking.
There is a persistency about these words.
A “never stop mentality” that seems to drive the entire mission and vision of Jesus Christ. Through his entire life and ministry, Jesus kept asking: he asked the Pharisees and old traditionalists about their practices and questioned how life seemed to be captured in old rules and dusty traditions; he kept seeking: the lost, the confused, the outcast, the children, the women, the sick and the possessed and he sought people out and looked at them, saw them, accepted them and blessed them and found them. And they found life, forgiveness, grace and God. Jesus kept on knocking on doors that had been closed or locked: he tore down walls and doors of rigid traditions, judgmental rituals and unjust prejudice. Jesus truly opened doors: he wanted openness, acceptance, tolerance and light. He wanted the holy spirit to be able to move like a free spirit and a divine draft among us. He wanted open doors and no boarders or walls between people.
What the Gospel tells us and reminds us to, - is that we too, middle-aged, old, young, need to be persistent in our lives and our mentality.
We need to ask every question we can ask, we need to seek out everything possible to find, and we need to be knocking until our knuckles are bruised.
In a time and age of information overload, constant news, relentless updates, constant change and challenges, - we need to keep on: keep on asking about truth, facts, grace, love and justice; keep on seeking information, knowledge, truth, love and grace; and knocking on doors to invite the world in. Keep on asking…. Keep on seeking…. Keep on knocking. Not only todays youngsters – but all os us. This is part of our human nature and our divine purpose: to be persistent, to be present, to be patient.
Keep on asking, seeking and knocking.
There is something very fundamental forgiving about keeping on. It means that there will be missteps and mistakes, there will be unanswered questions, there will be silence; there will be u-turn, dead ends and blind alleys; there will be doors that will stay closed.
In our Lutheran Christian Tradition faith is understood as a journey. Questions are indispensable to the journey of faith, because they help illuminate the path. A very important characteristic of a protestant Lutheran faith and theology, is a strong affirmation of human thoughts, questions, intellect and conversations. God gave us a brain, so use it! Only when people are free to questions religious authorities, received traditions, sacred texts then we can truly find faith.
Todays’ Gospel very firmly confirms the notion that we should be celebrating in our Danish Lutheran Church: our ability and freedom to formulate questions is what makes us human and is part of what we mean when we say we are made in the image of God.
We should firm believe, confess and celebrate that we do believe that our human brain is a gift. A god given gift, that we are meant to make good use of. We are not supposed to check our brains in the entrée when we walk in the church door.
Our faith is to keep on. Keep asking, seeking and knocking. And keep on believing that this wonderful world and life is so much more than we can ever phantom or explain.
This we celebrate today with our confirmands. This we celebrate today with a wide-open door to the world, to the nature, to our faith. Keep on knocking on heavens door! Amen
Dear Confirmands – dear families, friends and congregations!
This is a beautiful day of joy, commitment, faith and hope. It is your day – so don’t let it get away, but enjoy it and embrace it!
Every time we have been having confirmation class since last November, we have been breaking records of the church. Look at the rows of confirmands! Look at the 19 confirmands. We have never had a class this size since the founding of the church in 1906!
We have also broken the record in the distances travalled to get to church. San Diego, Carlsbad, Pacific Palisades, Long Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, Augora Hills, Sonoma county and all the way to Atlanta, Georgia. We have meet, we have talked, we have asked questions and sought answers. We have meet here, but we have also meet in Cyperspace, on Skype or Facetime. We truly have proven that physical distance is not an obstacle in the age of today. So welcome all confirmands and all of your families! What a great joy to break records with you today!
It has been a delight to get to know you and walk with you. You walked into the Confirmation Classes with curiosity, questions, openness, and sincerity. You have accepted your differences and have shared your similarities. And you have walked together. Literally – we have walked our faith walk as we have been walking our Lord’s Prayer and The Apostle Creed here in church… when you had to find your way through the old words, find the right order and find your faith.
We have shared moments, physically here or in Calrsbad, or wonderful session on line – and we have begun a lifelong conversation about faith, hope and love that I hope you will continue.
You have found time and opportunity to be here… and a big thank you to your parents who diligently have tried to juggle all the soccer games, school assignments, volleyball, and the distances to travel by car or to meet in SKYPE…. THANK YOU!
So, dear Confirmands – please look at your parents and be grateful that you have wonderful supporting parents, who truly wants to support you as they are able and provide the best opportunity for you. They were the ones cheering on your when you took your first step, and they will be cheering your every step!
And look at your families and friends, and your congregation, - we are all here to celebrate you, congratulate you, salute you and support you – because today is a very important step in your walk-through life.
You make a choice today, you say a load and confident YES to all you believe in: God and goodness, Jesus and joy, Holy Spirit, and Hope. It matters what you do believe in, it matters what you choose, - and today is your choice and even more God confirmation of his faith in you – that you are indeed his blessed beloved children!
And you are truly blessed beloved children – of this church too. You all have the right about of croauge, commitment, humor, compassion and intelligence to find your way and to find the path to choose and the values to built on.
At the last class I asked you all to write some thoughts about your hopes for the future and also some thoughts about confirmation classes. And I will share some of these profound words today:
You were expressing gratitude for confirmation class, and even more all the new friends. “ I hope to stay close to my confirmations friends, as I really like them! Confirmation class has been beneficial in away that it prepard me for all of the ups and downs in my life and taught be to be a better mre respectful person. - I hope to remember what these classes have taught me. - These classes have opened my eyes to this religion and I am very happy and grateful for that. - Class has told be that God is with me all the way - My favorite part of this class is that being with others makes being confirmed not so scary.”
And then your words about your hopes for the future.
I hope my parents and family love me forever even if I make mistakes. Continue to show kindness to others Have fun and go on unexpected adventure.
I hope the future wont be confusing because its aldreray bad enough now. Change the world in a good way. Remember to be kind, helpful, selfless and caring.
Hope to be kind and grateful and thankful for life in general. I hope to be a successful actress, but mostly I hope we solve our giant issues with global warming. I want to make others happy, smile, laugh
This really makes me proud and hopeful for the future. Proud of this generation of young people who have big dreams not only for them selves but for the better of the world: this generation who wants to focus on kindness, help and care.
You are the key to the future! You are the key to a better world.
I have a small gift for you – I will ask Maria to help me pass them out. It is a small key chain. As a reminder that you need to have the key to get access, the continuing asking and seeking knowledge and support, but even more as a reminder to keep knocking on doors to get access.
And remember the key to your future is your heart and the voice of your heart. It knows what is right and what is wrong; it truly is the key.
Dear 19 Wonder Confirmands!
Congratulations and keep walking, talking, wondering, questioning, believing, and hoping.
Disse smukke unge mennesker, gid de laenge leve maa! Tillykke!