Last week, Tim and I were in charge of Gabi’s Confirmation Class Pumpkin Carving and Potluck party. It was a great time with not only the confirmands but also their parents.
Many of you know me and know that we couldn’t just do a potluck dinner and pumpkin carving…nooooooo. We had to have more fun than that!
I gathered up a bunch of my Fall and Halloween decorations to add some ambiance to the Fellowship Hall and Library (where we ate). Our local grocer gave me some dry ice which I put in a bucket with some bottled waters (which I put by a tall witch), and I put some dry ice in buckets by the doors of the church too.
We enjoyed a nice potluck dinner (even though my sloppy joe meat didn’t heat up enough…I’d made it the day before and had hoped to just heat it in a crock pot. Yeah…note to self…you need more than an hour on high to do that. Sigh.)
After dinner we went down to the Fellowship Hall to get started on the pumpkins. The kids also had a choice of a ‘Make Your Own Caramel Apple Bar’ or Bobbing for Apples. Needless to say, there were some very wet heads and filled tummies. I’m sure the dentist loves us too. :)
Before we started all those festivities though, I did give a little talk, of sorts. I didn’t want the evening to go by without acknowledging the reason we gather at the church.
I hesitated until now to share it with you. But something kept after me to share it…call it my ‘inner voice’ or my ‘Jiminy Cricket’. :) (You’ll see the tongue-in-cheek reference below.)
Here’s the talk I had with the kids and their parents:
Let’s talk about these pumpkins for a minute.
Your pumpkin started out as a seed.
Someone, maybe you, nurtured it until the plant grew into beautiful flowers…then those flowers became a pumpkin that grew larger and larger until it was harvest time. It was taken off the vine, brought to the store where you purchased it. Then you brought it here tonight, where it will go through its final transformation into a fantastic jack-o-lantern.
Now your once seed, then flower, then pumpkin, now jack-o-lantern will bring joy to not only you, but your neighbors and the trick-or-treaters that will come to visit your house on Halloween.
That was God’s plan for that very pumpkin.
Now relate that story to yourself.
Even before you were born, God had a plan for you.
You were a beautiful baby – a miracle of God. Then you became a toddler and when you fell, you were picked up. Then you grew into a teenager…and now when you fall you pick yourself back up. Your parents, grandparents, and others like Pastor Katie have nurtured you into the person you are today. They all still guide you, but as you grow older you start to make your own choices. Now we, as parents, encourage you to make good choices, but we’re not always with you. So what happens when you’re not sure what to do?
How about listening to your inner voice. That little voice that tells you what’s right and what’s wrong.
We call it many things…”your conscience, your parents’ voices, your Jiminy Cricket, or Jesus guiding you”. I believe it’s the last one.
That inner voice will wiggle its way into your conscience and say ‘don’t do it – it’s wrong!’ Or ‘Go for it – talk to that person who’s all alone – they look like they need a friend!’
It will lead you to making good decisions. If your peers are going to do something you’re not sure you should do, your inner voice might say ‘not a very good idea’…then stand strong and don’t join in! Or…step outside the circle of friends and be a friend to someone who needs one.
You see, this is where you are different from the pumpkin.
God gave you free will.
You get to make choices.
And, as the pumpkin will become a fantastic jack-o-lantern, you are becoming a wonderful adult through your choices and with Jesus walking beside you along your path.
And He will continue to throughout the rest of your…our (motioning to the parents and myself) lives.
As the Pumpkin fulfilled it’s purpose…we will continue to grow and fulfill ours.
You…we …are a work in progress.
Each confirmand left with a small glass jar which held candy corn, candy pumpkins and a tag that said “You are a work in progress”.
I hope the message helps you realize that you, too, are a work in progress.
If we make mistakes…
or if we conquer the world…
we’re still a work in progress.
Some days bring challenges.
Some days bring joys.
Some days bring sorrow.
Each night, remember that God isn’t finished with you yet…
We can start anew each day.
a work in progress.