Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Confirmation: What's The Point?

I grew up in a very small Evangelical church that had some traditions, but not many.  Yes, I was baptized and went through "classes" to learn the Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Ten Commandments, and other pillars of the Christian faith.  My church was definitely Bible believing, but it was very much not a "traditional" church.

Fast forward to my adulthood and married life.  The church was disbanded, so the Hubs and I were tasked with finding a new church home.  As a Protestant, finding a church isn't as easy as it would seem.  We spent two years at a larger Evangelical church, but it was over a half hour away and was hard on the family to get there.  We then attended an Anglican church for two years, had our kids baptized, and were about to join the church when the Pastor announced he was moving away.  The church floundered at that point, and we decided that we were ready to try something else.  We visited many churches--Baptist, Presbyterian, nondenominational, Lutheran.  I didn't like any of them.  We stopped going almost all together for about a year.

It was at this point that I had to wrestle with my faith as an adult, to decide what doctrine I actually believed apart from my upbringing.  I had to decide what aspects of church life were essential to my faith, and what aspects just got in the way.

One day I remember Hubs laying on the couch, I was sitting on the floor, and we were talking about church and my wanting to stop homeschooling.  I jokingly told Hubby that we needed to join the Lutheran church so we could get the school discount and then send our kids there.  He said, "Yes we should.  I liked that church."  I gave him a funny look because we had visited that church several times over two years, but he hadn't ever expressed an opinion of it either way.

But it was that conversation that changed the course of our family church and school life.  The next Sunday we started going to our church, went through the church membership class, dropped out of the membership class halfway through after I encountered aspects of the faith that I didn't agree with.  Hubs and I worked through it, I decided to agree to disagree on a few issues and go with it anyway, we joined up with the next membership class,finished it and then joined the church.  Our kids started at the school the next fall.

David began the two-year-long Confirmation process at school.  As David was going through all the work involved--prayer journals, writing weekly family devotionals, service hours, required family service projects, sermon reports, etc, I started to wonder if it was even worth it.  What was the big deal about being Confirmed?  I was never Confirmed and I turned out alright.  Yes, it meant he would be able to officially take Communion, which was about the only benefit I saw in actually finishing the process.  The education aspect was a good thing, learning the Creeds, the Bible, the Salvation story, so that was good.  But I didn't see the point of the actual act of Confirming kids.

On Sunday David was Confirmed.  It wasn't until the 8th graders all stood up and stated their beliefs in God, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Faith, that it really made sense to me.  These teenagers stand there in white robes, publicly proclaim their decision to follow God, are blessed by the Pastor, prayed over, and receive their first Communion.  It reminded me of a wedding.  Which I am sure is actually the point.  It is a believer's decision to join in Holy union with God.  They say, "I do" and God says, "Eat my Body which was broken for you, Drink my Blood which was poured out for you."  The entire thing is actually completely right and beautiful.  And it really is a big deal.  

Showing off his Confirmation present stash--
a Bible and devotional were not pictured

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