During our lifetime we may find ourselves making many oaths and promises. Even in Church, we make them before the Lord. At Baptism, promises are made either by the candidate, or on their behalf if the candidate is a child. In the ceremony of Holy Matrimony, couples make vows to love each other forever. In Ordination the Ordinand makes promises to serve the Lord faithfully in the congregation. At Confirmation the candidate makes the promises made on their behalf at Baptism their own.
With the latter in mind, those who are preparing for Confirmation this year will be continually reminded of this. Confirmation is not a ‘passing out parade’ or an ‘end to Sunday School’ or an ‘I no longer need to go to church’. It is important that Parents, Godparents, and indeed all of us, make sure that each candidate is aware of this and set them a good example of Christian living. Confirmation is about the person publicly professing a living faith in the Lord Jesus and showing a desire to take their place as a believer within the life and worship of the Church.
Every year, on the Thursday of Holy Week, I remind myself of the Oaths which I made at my ordination in 2009. Along with this I read the passage from Psalm 116 verses 12 - 14 – “What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord, in the presence of all his people.”
I am continually reminded in the answers that I gave, being similar to that at Baptism and Confirmation, that no one can fulfill the vows in their own strength. The replies are: By the help of God, I will.
Sometimes the help which the Lord gives us comes through other people. So often someone says or does something that is a little encouragement to help us or lift us. Over the next few weeks let me encourage you to pray for and support those who are preparing for confirmation and help them to take their place within the life and witness of Christ’s church.