Friday, May 04, 2012

Confirmation, Welcome to the Grown-Ups' Table

I remember my confirmation. Maybe I was too into King Aurthur, or the Chronicles of Narnia, but it is such a solemn right that I couldn't help imagining that confirmands were receiving a special anointing, like knighthood, we were being commissioned as members of God's kingdom into His service.

It is been hard to hear kids gripe about the requirements of confirmation class. When my wife and I were youth counselors and when I taught high school Bible study class it was discouraging when kids didn't attend or didn't want to participate in youth group.

There's a line in our denomination's confirmation liturgy that always gives me shivers; "Dear Baptized in Christ,. P: Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confes- sion and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?" This is a BIG commitment, as big or bigger than marriage. I wonder how seriously most 12-14 year olds (and their parents) take it?

These first few comments sound full of law, demanding, maybe even judgmental or condescending. I don't mean to be. After all, "see what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are!" 1 John 3:1

Jesus loved you enough to die for you. What an amazing thing it is to publicly declare that you're grateful for that and that you want to continue to be connected and engaged with Him in an active relationship! And that you want to begin taking on grown-up responsibility as a participating member of His family via your congregation/fellowship!

My hope and prayer for all the kids around the country getting confirmed this time of year, including my nephew (and next year my daughter) will see this as a launching point, the starting line for the great race that Paul talks about in Philippians, not merely as just another rite of passage.

"What is confirmation? Confirmation is the rite by which a baptized person renews his baptismal vow, publicly confesses his faith, and is received into communicant membership by the congregation." (from 1943 LCMS Catechism)

"What is confirmation? Confirmation is a public rite of the church preceded by a period of instruction designed to help baptized Christians identify with the life and mission of the Christian community. Note: Prior to admission to the Lord's Supper, it is necessary to be instructed in the Christian faith (1 Cor. 11:28). The rite of confirmation provides an opportunity for the individual Christian, relying on God's promises given in Holy Baptism, to make a personal public confession of the faith and a lifelong pledge of fidelity to Christ. Matt. 10:32-33 & Rev. 2:10." ( from 1991/2005 LCMS Catechism)

God's blessings on this weekend's confirmands and their families. Remember, this is not "graduation" from Sunday School. May this be only the beginning of a lifelong, committed and always growing relationship with Jesus and lifelong, commitment to active participation in the body of Christ, His church!

May God bless you and keep you as you continue to grow in" faith toward Him and fervent love toward one another," in Jesus name, Amen.

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