The Pastor's Peace - July, 2010
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At the end of June we confirmed four of our youth. Again, I would like to congratulate Amanda, Gracie, Morgan, and Olena and thank them for all their hard work. It struck me during the ceremony that confirmation is something we celebrate, and, yet, perhaps don’t know why. Confirmation is at its most basic form a confirming of your baptism. Historically this was also considered a pouring out of the Holy Spirit and thus a sacrament. Confirmation later ceased to be a sacrament in protestant churches, but was still celebrated as a symbolic act or rite. In scripture it comes from such passages as Acts 8:14–17, when the apostles Peter and John received the Holy Spirit sometime after they had been baptized.

In the early days of both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, confirmation was generally done at the same time as baptism; this is still the case in many Orthodox churches. In Catholicism, since many new converts were not adults, but were infants, confirmation was separated from baptism. In the Orthodox and the Catholic Church, confirmation was required before communion could be received. In the 20th century, however, this began to change for Catholics. In protestant denominations some still require confirmation prior to communion, while others do not.

This covers a brief history of confirmation, but why is it still important for us Protestants? Why do we even have confirmation classes? For Protestants it
really comes down to fully understanding the sacrament of baptism. Denominations such as Baptists, who only practice adult baptism, don’t generally have confirmation. In denominations like ours, however, that practice infant baptism, we really want people to understand what their baptism was. Baptism after all is when we die to our old selves and are reborn into the body of Christ. What does it mean to be one with Christ, and part of the Christian church? Our confirmation classes aim to give youth an understanding of what a Christian is, we ask them to confirm this understanding, and then we hope they fully realize the meaning of their baptism.

I think that even for those of us who have already been confirmed, confirmation should be a reminder of who we are and what we should strive to do as Christians. If you look at the basic questions asked during confirmation, they first ask if we want to be part of the church. If we do, we should strive to do God’s will and reject what is hurtful and evil in the world. To do this we need Christ and we need to follow him. Finally, as followers of Christ we need to work towards being the best examples we can to improve the world around us, in the process sharing the good news along the way. This is a very basic understanding of what it is to follow Christ, but we should ask ourselves now and again if we are fulfilling our promises. Confirmation is not an end, it is really a beginning of a life in which we continue to understand our faith and continue to try to live it to its fullest.

Pastor Brian