On May 20th, Pentecost Sunday, this congregation will celebrate the ministry of confirmation with some of our baptized members. Our definition of confirmation in the Lutheran Church is:
A pastoral and educational ministry of the church which helps the baptized through Word and Sacrament to identify more deeply with the Christian community and participate more fully in its mission.
Lutherans also believe that confirmation is not something that the confirmand does, but something that God does. It’s God’s initiative! And because it’s God’s initiative, it is very fitting to observe this on Pentecost Sunday, as we celebrate the Holy Spirit among us.
We often think of confirmation as a rite of passage or something that we complete. However, when someone is confirmed in the church it is not an ending to anything, but rather a new beginning. Actually, on May 20th we will all be affirming our baptism together, and remembering that we are always growing and becoming. So really, we’re all confirmation students, and that’s something we will be the rest of our lives. Confirmation is essentially a tool we use in the Lutheran Church to enable and empower our youth for continued ministry. It exists so they have an opportunity to understand more deeply their faith and how this faith might be lived out in their lives.
Therefore, on May 20th not only will we be confirming some of our middle-schoolers, we will also be affirming what God has done and continues to do in all of our lives. I challenge each of us to remember that we all need constant affirming of our gifts and talents. It’s important that we lift up one another and affirm those areas of ministry that God has called each of us to be a part of in this church and out in the world.
As St. Paul writes, “The body does not consist of one member but of many”. And so it is with the Body of Christ here at Salem Lutheran, we have many gifts to share – so let’s always remember to confirm and affirm one another so that we might, through God’s initiative, use these gifts for ministry and for God’s glory.
Peace, Pastor Derek