This May nine St. James Parish young folks were Confirmed in the Episcopal Church. We are so proud of our young folk, generally, but this particular group of youth has spent the last nine or so months in community, learning more about the Episcopal Church and, we trust, about themselves and their own walk of faith. I have been privileged to get to know a few of our young people that, going in, I had not had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with. They are a wonderful group of people whom we should be very happy to have among us!!
Confirmation in the Episcopal Church is not, technically, a sacrament but, rather an important passage from youth toward adulthood; a sign of a person’s desire to claim a more mature faith. All Confirmands are baptized and, for this group like many in our tradition, they were baptized as very young people, babies essentially. Baptismal promises were made at their Baptism for them, like, “Will you … respect the dignity of every human being?” At Confirmation, a person stands up and answers the question, “Do you renew your commitment to Jesus Christ?” with a resounding, “I do, and with God’s grace I will follow Him as my Lord and Savior.” Then the Bishop lays hands on them, blesses their desire to confirm their Baptismal promises, and asks God’s strength and the ability to do God service in the world. Confirmation is a claiming for one’s own a faith that will, with God’s help, sustain them through the trials and triumphs of their lives.
The Prayer Book collect says, “God our Father, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals …” (BCP, page 829). Our Confirmands need us to be people of strength and of faith. We need to live into our Baptismal promises as a sign and symbol to them that WE trust in God’s presence and continuing life; we must point the way to Jesus, the true path that can bring life to them, life to the world. God bless our Confirmands and be with all of our children and families, now and always.