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May 2014 - Confirming Confirmation

Confirming Confirmation

My Family in Christ, most of our congregations hold confirmation ceremonies generally between Palm Sunday and Pentecost, as so we too find ourselves in the midst of the “confirmation season”.   With that in mind, this is a good opportunity to remind our confirmands as well as those of us who have been confirmed in our Baptismal faith for some time, of what confirmation means.  Now though I am certain that you may have heard the following comments before, it wouldn’t hurt to hear them again!

  • First, confirmation is not when we first become members of the Church (at least for the majority).  When we were baptized by our Gracious God, that was the very moment that we were brought by God into His Family of believers, The Holy Christian Church.  It also was the moment that we were brought into the membership of our local congregation.  Confirmation generally is the time when the vows spoken for us at our baptism as infants are confirmed – that we are indeed confirming what God had done for us in those gracious waters as well as the faith into which we were baptized.
  • Secondly, confirmation is not commanded by God but a rite made up by the church. It does not convey grace or work some special power on us.  That said, it does serve the important function of not only confirming the faith into which we are baptized, but also in preparing the confirmand for partaking of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper – that the confirmand publicly professes his or her recognition of the Lord’s Very Body and Blood in/with/and under the elements of the bread and wine, and their understanding/agreement with and belief in the teachings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  It is a time for them to publicly declare their readiness to enter into Communicant Membership with the congregation.
  • Thirdly, and purposely emphasized, confirmation IS NOT, IS NOT, IS NOT graduation!  Perhaps it is the robes that some congregations use with confirmation – robes that are intended to remind the confirmand as well as the congregation of the righteousness of Christ that we have been clothed in at our baptism, but sadly are often viewed like some kind of graduation gown.   Nothing could be further from the truth.  Confirmation is not an end but a beginning.   It is the first day of the LIFE LONG process of growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It is a reaffirming of God’s work in us, and a desire to continually grow in that baptismal grace, and then living the New Life in Christ by that grace.   Sadly, we can have the recently confirmed (as well as the long confirmed) no longer coming to the Divine Service and feeding their baptismal faith.  They think that they have learned all that they need to learn about God and His Church and decide to never darken the doors of the church again – and thus slowly starve their faith to death, and risk condemning their souls to eternal damnation and ruin.   May this thought, and the confirmation of this year’s confirmands serve as an important reminder TO ALL OF US of our daily need to focus on the  baptismal grace given to us, and the daily need we have to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.   As we then focus on the grace of God given to us in baptism every day, we then are moved to joyfully follow after our Lord in a God pleasing life – the way we were designed to live!  Always remember – confirmation is/was not the end, but the beginning!
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