Confirmation: a radical, marvelous affirmation

By Pastor John Schwehn
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2015 Class of Confirmands on Nov. 1, 2015

On Oct. 30, 2016, the global Lutheran and Catholic Church will begin a year of extended reflection on the Reformation. On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his now famous 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and the world would never be the same. As we launch into the 500th year since this historic day, we will witness something just as dramatic and revolutionary together: a class of ninth graders in New Brighton, Minn. will make a public affirmation of their baptisms. All of these many years later, the gospel has continued to be proclaimed and preached, and the faith we share is passed on to yet another generation of the faithful. What a radical, marvelous thing!

On this special day, we will recognize these students, celebrating the good, long, and sometimes hard work of reflecting on their faith. But what they are doing will also serve as a reminder for the entire church: we will remember again the promises made to us in our baptisms. We will renew our commitment to the Christian vocations we continue to be called to every day.

We will ask our confirmands whether they intend to “continue in the covenant God made with [them] in holy baptism.” Because of God’s gift of grace to us, we respond by continuing to live in covenant with God. There are five things that our confirmands, and all of us, promise to continue doing:
  1. To live among God’s faithful people,
  2. To hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper,
  3. To proclaim the good news through word and deed,
  4. To serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and
  5. To strive for justice and peace in all the earth.

These five things are the marks of the baptized. It’s important that we return to them often, as the challenges and changes of each stage of life draw us into these faith practices in dramatically new and different ways. For instance, I imagine that the “words and deeds” through which we all are called to proclaim the good news might look and sound very different for a ninth grader than they do for a ninety-year-old! Our young, enthusiastic confirmands face a world filled with possibilities and choices, while those in the last season of life face a world of very different challenges with the wisdom they have cultivated over many years. And yet, these five marks of the baptized tie us all together into one body, one family of faith, one common vocation

Join us on Sunday, Oct. 30
Worship with us at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 30 and witness something remarkable. Let’s pray together for our confirmands as the Spirit continues to give us faith and call us ever forward into a blessed and promised future.