Congratulations Class of 2024

Pastor Aaron Hickey
CLS Grad Message
May 2024

CLS 8th Grade Graduation (2024)

The text for today is 1 Timothy 4:12… What a tremendous privilege and honor to speak
with you all today. I have been a Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church for 3 years now and in a
short while, will see my 3rd Concordia 8th grade class graduate and move on to High school. And
so, it is a great privilege to be able to spend a few moments with you today, gathered around
God’s great word….

You know, I have graduated a few times in my life. I did not have an official 8th grade
graduation, but I did graduate High School, College, and Seminary. And in each of those
ceremonies, I remember certain feelings that went with them. There was of course Joy that
came with knowing that you had completed all the hard work that led up to this point such as
homework, tests, projects, and presentations… There is also sadness in knowing that this marks
and end of an era of certain relationships; people that you will not be able to see as often as
you are used to… It also comes with the feeling of excitement for what lies ahead with new
schools, new relationships, and new challenges. Graduation is a day filled with hope and
expectations and perhaps, a wee bit of anxiety…

In just a few moments, Principal Monkemeyer will call upon your name, handing you a
piece of paper that says something to the effect that you have satisfactorily completed the
course of study prescribed to you by the faculty and staff at Concordia Lutheran School. And
you will take that paper and you will start walking into the rest of your life.
But the thing is, is that you are not just taking a piece of paper with you. You will learn
this as I have each time you graduate. And that is; the certificate is not the thing that holds any
value. The value is within you. This piece of paper may not make it to High School graduation or
college graduation or even beyond that. But what will make it to each of your next great
ventures; what truly endures are the values and education that have molded you over these
years at Concordia Lutheran School.

And something that shows me that you have been molded by Concordia is that you pick
good verses! For your class verse, you chose 1 Timothy 4:12. “Don’t let anyone look down on
you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, life, love, faith,
and purity.” As a young Pastor, I love this passage as Paul writes it to someone named Timothy,
a young pastor in Ephesus. Paul writes to Timothy with instructions on how to be a good
servant of Christ and to give Timothy the confidence to be a leader of the church by not letting
others look down on him because of his youth.

After graduating from Seminary, like Timothy, I had many doubts about how well I’d do
at being a pastor. I remember one of my first pastoral duties was to bring pastoral care to an
80-year-old woman who had major health problems. I thought, how was I a 26-year-old Pastor
going to bring comfort and care to someone who has lived 4 times longer than I have? I had no
life experience to bring to this situation God placed me in. So, I resorted to the only thing I
knew. To the only thing I have learned and been molded by over the years. I leaned on the
scriptures and what they have taught me. And they have taught me to not let anyone look
down on me because of my youth, including myself. But live a life of Christ in speech, life, love,
faith, and purity…

You are about to take these amazing steps forward into life. And you may run into some
who will try to look down on you because of your youth. That person may even be yourself. And
there will be those who also try to discount you and look down on you because of your faith.
But you mustn’t let them. Because you are a child of God through Christ Jesus our Lord. And
you have been molded into the one true faith by your Family/friends, your church, and your
teachers here at Concordia Lutheran School.

You are about to step out into a great new adventure, saying goodbye to the many great
adventures you had at Concordia. But don’t be mistaken that Concordia leave you as well.
Actually, everything Concordia taught you lives inside you. Everything you do and say has a little
bit of Concordia because it has helped mold you into the person you are today. It, along with
your family and church, are all those pieces in your life that come together in an effort of what
we call spiritual formation. As in these institutions of Family, church, and school are the vessels
in which God’s word is delivered so that the Holy Spirit might work into you the faith that
makes you a child of God.

So, with this all in mind. I want to leave you with some advice.

1st, it is to take every step forward with pure confidence in the Lord. Do not waver when there
are those who look down on you because you are a child of God.
2nd, as you take each step in life from here on out, set an example of your faith and show
people that your identity resides alone in being a Christ follower.
And my last advice to you is to keep going to church. Just because you have graduated
Concordia does not mean you have graduated Faith. I have not even graduated Faith and I have
2 Theology degrees. To be a Christian means that we are always wrestling with God and His
word, always learning and growing in His grace and truth. So, go to church… and oh yeah, go to
youth group too. At least, word on the street is that the Youth Pastor at Redeemer is, and I
quote, “just alright…”
But you all are more than just alright. You are children of God molded by fellow
Christians who love you dearly. So leave, remembering Christ is with you wherever you go and
that He isn’t finished with you yet.
Amen