This coming weekend, April 25/26, 2015, St. Paul's Lutheran Church will celebrate the confirmation of 7 young men and women. What is confirmation? It is a public rite of the church preceded by a period of instruction. It is a "rite," that which the church has formed for a specific purpose. The purpose of confirmation is that it is a public proclamation of the faith of those who are confirmed, giving them the opportunity to confess Christ before man. It is also a time when the young people are making the vow, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and after the time of instruction, that they will remain faithful to the confession that they are making. They ask the Lord to empower them to continue to remain faithful to Christ in word and deed.
The period of instruction that is spoken of in the definition that we had in the opening paragraph is the class in which we study Luther's Small Catechism, going in depth through the 6 chief parts. Do you remember those 6 chief parts? They are...wait, I will not tell you right at this moment in order to give you the chance to try to recall that which you learned when you went through confirmation.
What does confirmation mean for you, a person who has already been confirmed in the Lutheran Church? It gives you the opportunity to recall what it is you confess in your life as a member of the Lutheran Church. In the time of public questioning, as the seven are asked the variety of questions, you can take the time to remember and say, "Oh yeah, that is what I believe and confess." As they take their vows on Sunday morning, you can recall those very vows that you took.
Then it gives you the opportunity to ask the Holy Spirit to help you to live in those very vows. You vowed to faithfully worship and receive the Lord's Supper regularly. Do you? You vowed to support the work of the church with your time, talents and treasure. Do you? You vowed to be faithful and not leave this confession of faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Are you faithful to that confession?
What does confirmation mean for you, a person who has been confirmed in the faith? It means that you are asking the Lord to guide you as you continue to grow in that very faith. It means that if you have failed in living out that faith each day, if you have been avoiding worship, if you have not receive the Supper regularly and frequently, that you confess your sins and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to change your sinful life.
Confirmation is a rite of the church that gives each of us the opportunity to review what we believe, confess our sins in failing to be faithful to the vows we made and be regenerated by the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.
See you this weekend at worship.