Cathedral News, May 21, 2017

 
 
 

From the Deacon’s Desk

This is a day filled with joy!  This Sunday, we are fortunate to have Bishop Vono with us for Confirmations, Receptions and Reaffirmations. The Prayer Book says: “In the course of their Christian development, those baptized at an early age are expected, when they are ready and have been duly prepared, to make a mature public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of Baptism and to receive the laying on of hands by the bishop.”

Confirmation is not a ‘completion’ of Christian initiation – baptism by water and the Holy Spirit is a full initiation into the Body of Christ.  The operative word here is “mature.”  For those of us baptized as infants, we weren’t able to take the baptismal vows for ourselves.  So our godparents and parents took the vows on our behalf and promised to raise us as Christians. I may not remember my baptism but I distinctly remember my confirmation.

Confirmation, Reception and Reaffirmation, all done in the presence of the Bishop, consist of a restatement of our baptismal vows and represent the point when one assumes for oneself the responsibility to continue to grow in the knowledge and love of God and in the responsibilities of members of the church. This is not to say that today’s candidates will now be ‘on their own.’  Just the opposite.  The entire body of Christ reasserts our willingness to support them in their life in Christ and together with them, we will renew our baptismal vows.

Confirmation, Reception and Reaffirmation are symbols of our unity and our conversion by the Holy Spirit to live as Christ’s own.  “Conversion” can be a loaded and misunderstood word, so let’s flesh that out a little. We Anglicans do not believe that conversion to Christ is a singular event.  Rather, conversion is an ongoing and gradual process through which we are continually strengthened to live out the baptismal promises. Also, conversion does not happen in isolation but rather, in relationship.  In a very profound way we join with the Candidates to know God as we see God in others, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to live together within the one holy catholic and apostolic church. These are the actions of conversion and into which we welcome today’s candidates.

The ritual invites us all into a communal “mature public affirmation” of our ongoing conversion as expressed in the unity of the body of Christ, the ineffable connection founded in our baptism and recalled in the Eucharist – one bread, one cup.

Indeed, this is a joyous day!

Alleluia. Christ is Risen!

Deacon Chuck Jones

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