How we understand confirmation
The word confirmation, literally means “with firm-ness.” Confirmation means to make firm or solid that which has gone before or what was done earlier.
The “before”refers to our baptism and, in a broader sense, to all our faith journey up to this point. Many of us were baptized as babies, although some of us were not. If we were baptized, we didn’t choose it. It was done for us lovingly by parents and sponsors. It was God’s gift to us. Baptism reminds us that God accepts us and loves us even before we can respond. Our parents pledged to raise us in the faith. And the church pledged to help them. We just received baptism as a gift.
That brings us back to “the gift.” In The United Methodist Church, we believe that baptism is a `sacrament, showing God’s love for us, God’s grace. The New Testament word for grace is charis (literally “gift”). Baptism is a gift from god.
Confirmation is about the gift God has given us in Jesus Christ. It is about how God has loved us. It is about what we do to receive the gift and make it our own. It is a time of claiming the name of Jesus Christ – of Christian – for ourselves.
Baptism is a gift. Our parents may have accepted the gift for us, either by having us baptized or by bringing us to church. Now it is our turn. It is our turn to decide if we want to accept the gift for ourselves. It’s our turn to decide if we want to “make firm” what our God and our parents have done for us, if we want to claim the name.
We are no longer children. We are youth. We are making a passage toward being adults.
We no longer have to depend solely on our parents’ decision in matters of faith. we are old enough to make some decisions for ourselves. We have reached “the age of accountability.” Sure, our parents and sponsors still help us. But more responsibility passes to us. It’s now our journey.
We are ready to know about what it means to be Christian, what we believe as a church, how we are to live our lives, our history and heritage.
We are old enough to profess our own faith, to say what we believe. It doesn’t mean that we know all the answers (who does?), but we can learn enough to begin the journey for ourselves.