Come, Creator Spirit,
rekindle in *name*
your gifts of grace,
to love and serve
as a disciple of Christ.
Renew her/his life in Christ
and bring to completion
all that your calling has begun.
(And while anointing the candidate with Sacred Chrism)
Empower your disciple, *name*,
to bring life to the world.
In the Scottish Episcopal Church, the bishop says these words to everyone being confirmed.
In other parts of the Anglican Communion the words may be different,
but the basic idea is the same.
God is calling you and making you his own.
Confirmation is a moving experience for both bishop and confirmand.
But what is it all about?
Here are some of the meanings – or we might say intentions – associated with Holy Confirmation. Confirmation is
- A special way of receiving God’s grace: the presence of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit is confirmed in you through prayer and the laying on of the bishop’s hands for the life of Christian faithfulness, service, and witness.
- A step of personal faith: you confirm that you take on for yourself that which was taken on for you at your baptism as a child, confirming your faith and your membership of the body of Christ.
- A rite of passage: an act symbolising the movement from childhood to adulthood in which the church community confirms your intention to assume the privileges and responsibilities of being an adult member of the community.
All of this means that Confirmation is a Sacrament.
And because it is a sacrament it is a way to recognise, allow, welcome, and celebrate what God is doing, giving, and promising in your life. A sacrament can be helpfully understood in terms of the tradition of the prophets of the Old Testament who would act out the message God had given them to communicate. They would manifest or live out the truth God wanted them to convey, and the acting out, the demonstration, would help to bring the message into effect.
Some of the messages, the truths communicated and made real in Confirmation are:
- God confirms the promise of his presence and power in us and through us.
- God welcomes us to the feast of his kingdom and invites us to eat the food of eternal life.
- God reminds us that he is with us at every stage of our journey, his faithfulness always calling forth our faith.
- God calls each of us to participate in the ministry of the Church and gives the gifts we need for this.
If Confirmation is first and foremost about what God is doing for us and in us and with us and through us, what is needed from us?
We need to be prepared:
We need to expect to receive, to be open to God’s calling, to be ready for his embrace, to want to experience his presence and power.
We need to want and desire God, to long and thirst for him.
Candidates are usually expected to take several weeks or months to prepare for Confirmation and explore what this might mean for them.
I would like to give a Confirmation gift. Is there anything appropriate I should consider?
There are compilations of prayers for young people and adults, crosses, crucifixes, and icons amongst many other items. Many such gifts can be especially blessed before or after giving. Please ensure that such a gift is followed up with encouragement in the new Christian life of the person involved. If you want to know where to look for gifts and material please speak our Priest.
Our Interim Rector, The Most Rev’d Mark Strange,
Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness
Phone: 01463 811333