Over the past year, just as our Confirmation students have been learning what it means to be not just a follower of Jesus Christ, but a member of a Christian community, another group of BMPC members have been walking a parallel journey in our Thursday evening adult education class, Confirmation for Adults.
In the many years that I have taught traditional Confirmation classes, the response from parents always was, “Why don’t we offer classes like this for adults in the congregation?”
At its very best, Confirmation is not simply a membership class or an “everything you never knew but should know about everything Christian” class. It is instead a moment to help young people take all the things they have learned in Sunday School, in Worship, and in their family’s faith traditions and practices, and integrate them together into a personal profession of faith and a commitment to live out that faith with a particular community of Christians.
In our “Confirmation for Adults” class this past year we have been doing just that - looking at how all the different pieces of our tradition connect to our personal faith and the identity of our community - Scripture, Theology, Church History, Mission, Church Life, Worship and Sacraments. We will end next week with a conversation about what it means to publicly profess one’s faith, not just in the context of worship, but in the everydayness of life.
Each time we celebrate a baptism we speak the phrase, “Let us remember with joy our own baptism as we celebrate this sacrament.”
This Sunday as we confirm these 26 young people, it is also a moment for the whole church to recommit themselves to the questions that will be asked of them, and to commit to fully welcoming and engaging them in the life of the congregation:
Trusting in the gracious mercy of God, do you turn from the ways of sin
and renounce evil and its power in the world?
Who is your Lord and Savior?
Will you be Christ’s faithful disciple,
obeying his Word and showing his love?
Will you devote yourself to the church’s teaching and fellowship,
to the breaking of bread and the prayers?
May we all remember that we are called to continually be engaged in questions of faith, to continually renew our faith through acts of service, study and worship, and to continually recommit ourselves to the covenant life of the community of faith.