Last Sunday, a parishioner and I talked about how she’d just been through her own personal “Holy Week” in terms of back-to-back days of church related service: altar guild at the Wednesday Holy Eucharist, hospitality for our monthly “Third Thursday” reception and program following Candlelight Communion, throwing a bingo party at Moravian Open Door on Friday, packing meals to send to Haiti on Saturday, ushering and altar guild again on Sunday morning. It was impressive. I count one other parishioner who likewise served all five days. (I was only good for three!)
Not everyone can devote that much time to serving the church and serving others through the church, but Confirmation Sunday is a good time to be reminded of our commitment to the Way of Jesus. As the Bishop will pray over those being confirmed and received, “Renew in these your servants the covenant you made with them at their Baptism. Send them forth in the power of that Spirit to perform the service you set before them.”
When we have youth being confirmed after an extended time of preparation (much longer than the adult confirmation class in Lent), I remind them that confirmation is a commissioning, not a graduation from church. It is part of growing into the full stature of Christ and a cause to lean into our Christian identity even more.
That identity is grounded in our baptismal vows – first principles of the faith and promises that we will renew during the service of confirmation. These vows can be reassuring, as we recall that at our baptism we were marked as Christ’s own forever. Sobering, as we admit how hard it is to persevere against evil or repent and return to the Lord. Challenging, when we realize that seeking and serving Christ in all persons sometimes demands more than we wish to give or do.
Yet, the key to our baptismal vows comes in our response to each one – I will, with God’s help. “I will” is our promise to God. “With God’s help” is God’s promise to us. God is supporting us every step along the Way. God’s promise is one of grace – the very grace that will be imparted by the Holy Spirit to our confirmands through Bishop Glasspool and the laying on of hands.
So, go ahead and claim some divine grace for yourself – right now and when we renew our baptismal vows. Grace is the very fuel for our life of faith. May we all be strengthened by it to perform the service God has set before us.