A Teachable Moment: Baptism and Confirmation
This Sunday, June 13, a number of St. Matthew’s youth will commit their lives to follow Jesus Christ. As you participate (in person or via livestream) please note an important difference in today’s service. One of our confirmands (and his sister) were not baptized as infants, so they will speak for themselves in response to the questions posed to them by Bishop Douglas during the renunciation and affirmation portion of the baptismal rite. They will say, “Yes!” when asked if they would like to be baptized. This is different than when an infant or young child is baptized; parents and godparents make these promises on behalf of the child who cannot speak for themselves. Our current two baptismal candidates understand what is being asked of them, therefore they do not need an adult to speak for them. Following the water poured upon their heads, Bishop Douglas will anoint them with chrism (holy oil) and place his hand on their heads. Since it is a bishop who is officiating, they will not need to be confirmed. At that moment they become full members of the Church. Soon after, others will come forward to kneel and receive the bishop’s laying-on-of-hands; moments before they will speak for themselves, renewing the baptismal promises made on their behalf by their parents and godparents. Since their baptism they have been members of the Church, but as one who is now more mature, they will “confirm” for themselves the promised made for them many years ago. As a congregation, we will also renew our baptismal promises as we join the confirmands in affirming them in the Baptismal Covenant. The Rite of Confirmation is a mature response to saying “Yes!” to Jesus if one was baptized as an infant or small child. As baptized Christians, the work ahead for all of us is to continue to live out the promises we renew at every baptism, bringing hope, reconciliation, and healing to a broken world in Jesus’ name.