Today was confirmation day at our church. Those who grew up Lutheran might wonder how I arrived at the last Sunday in April. I do like Palm Sunday, one traditional day for confirmation, but it often falls during spring break so some years that doesn’t work well. I love Pentecost, too, but when Easter is late in April, that sometimes occurs after school is out in Florida, so that can be difficult, too. So I’ve done the first Sunday in May for a long time, except for this year when I feared that my daughter’s college graduation might be that Sunday. So adapting to a multitude of secular conventions, we went for it today.
And it was great. I love teaching middle schoolers, confirmation classes, and the rite of confirmation. If no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3) then days like this are very powerful. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that it’s not so much about what they know, although we cover a lot of material with the Small Catechism. It’s more about who they are. I always pray that emerge from the confirmation experience realizing that they are children of God, who have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:15). I also pray that they’ve developed a relationship with a pastor and a church, so that no matter what else changes in their lives, they can always go back and find the unchanging, unconditional love of God in Jesus Christ.
Perhaps this is a special event for me because I vividly remember my own confirmation nearly forty years ago. At the time, it seemed like I had arrived. In retrospect, I was just getting started. When I got to the seminary and we began to review Christian doctrine, I realized a lot sounded very familiar to me. My pastor, the late Rev. Donald Sallach, had done an excellent job of teaching me the basics. I only hope that to some extent, I can do the same.