Confirmation in the Spring
By Daniel Griswold
This Article ran in The Island Packet’s Bluffton Edition
twitter name: dannonhill
Spring is just around the corner even though the winter so far has not been that bad. I’ve gotten just the right amount of Vitamin D from the sunshine from yard sales and walks in 70 degree weather. With the exception of a few days of chill, I’d start cleaning up our landscaping and the garage for the summer.
I’m also dreaming of April and May because our season of Confirmation started last Sunday. Confirmation starts in January at our church and our celebration to end our class is usually just after the Easter season. Sunday evening I sat down with some of our families and talked about the faith walks of our youth. In an artistic way, growing and discovering faith through the spring just makes sense because new life is blooming everywhere while we learn to walk in the dust of Jesus. I love every moment of this journey we take together. I always learn something while teaching.
Each year, I am growing in appreciation for this rite of passage by young people of faith. Personally, I grew up in a tradition (Pentecostal) that did not “confirm” youth. Rather, we were baptized when we decided we would profess our faith, and at that time we would become members. My baptism was rather rudimentary, in steel tub with very cold water in a multi-purpose room/sanctuary. I remember the shock of it all, but I will never forget the applause of the congregation and the affirmation of being welcomed into a larger family.
In Methodism, like many denominations who infant baptize, the tradition of confirmation is an important moment. We celebrate the decision of our young people to own their own faith. We celebrate the rite in service with vows, we eat a meal with the whole church invited, their families come to congratulate them, all to say that it is a big deal. This is a marker of growth.
Regardless of the tradition in each of our denominations, we all need moments that mark positively the passage of time. Whether we see our lives like Paul envisions, as a race in the book of Philemon, “ I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven,” or if you see God’s Kingdom being made more real in an often chaotic world, like Jesus’ image of a mustard seed which grows large with many branches in the gospel of Luke.
Every person is made as a child of God. We are both the individual growing and leaping forward and we are the family, pushing ourselves and others forward, also reaching out helping as many others reach their full potential.
As you go through your day today, ask yourself who you can encourage today? Is it a young person just blooming in the springtime of faith? Or is it a teacher of faith who helped you grow? Write a letter or say a prayer for those you can remember. God is good and part of our job is to be signs of that goodness for others.