At our church, the Festival of Pentecost is traditionally the day of Confirmation, also known as the Affirmation of Baptism. Confirmation candidates bring to culmination three years of study regarding the basic tenants of the Christian faith, as practiced by members of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). It is a joyous day, prayerful and happy and solemn all at once. These students will publicly affirm the promises of their baptisms, which for many of them occurred when they were yet infants. Traditionally, it also marks the beginning of their participation in the faith community as adult members of the church.
This year the Festival of Pentecost is celebrated tomorrow, May 19th. On that day, my teenage son, Liam, will be confirmed in his faith at our little Lutheran church, along with several other candidates. He is eagerly looking forward to this event, and filled with expectation regarding his future involvement as an adult member of our church community.
I’m excited and happy for him as well. But mostly, I’m hopeful.
Hopeful that he will recall always the baptismal promises of life in Christ, and that God’s promises are eternal.
I am hopeful that he will continue to live a life that says ‘yes’ to God’s will, not just on this confirmation day, but beyond.
Hopeful that he would remember that he, like every believer, has received spiritual gifts; gifts to be enjoyed not only for his own benefit, but to be shared for the good of all.
I am hopeful that he recognizes that this day marks a continuation of his journey in his life in Christ, not the apex or a ‘graduation.’
Hopeful that no matter where he goes in life, he will always find a welcoming church home, and that he will extend that welcome to others, no matter who they are or how ‘different’ they may seem to be.
I hope and pray and desire all these things, but especially I pray that he, his fellow confirmands, and all people, everywhere, will know how richly God has blessed them, and how truly loved they are.
“I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18