So there’s been a lot of talk at Restoration recently about confirmation. That’s because our bishop, David Bena, will be visiting Restoration on Palm Sunday (April 5), and he’ll be confirming people at that time. This brings up a lot of questions: What is confirmation? Is it for me? Why do I need it? Why would I want it? What am I being confirmed into? If I was confirmed somewhere else, isn’t that good enough? Why does the bishop need to do it? (What’s a bishop?)
Lots of good questions, all worth asking. I’m going to explore some of them here on the blog in the next few days. I hope this will open up thoughts and questions and conversations and prayers about what it means to be on this journey of faith together at Restoration.
So, what is confirmation? One way to answer that question is to say that confirmation is a sacrament in the Anglican church. A sacrament is “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” In other words, something that we can do, say, see, feel, or touch that signals the invisible work that God does by imparting his grace to our hearts. In Anglicanism, we have two main sacraments (the “Sacraments of the Gospel”), which are baptism and the Eucharist; they’re the two that Christ expressly mandated his disciples to follow. There are also five other sacraments, including confirmation. These aren’t necessary for everyone to experience, but they are ways that God communicates his grace to us. (Check out p. 857-861 in the BCP for more on this.)
That’s kind of a general answer. A more specific answer is that confirmation is the rite through which we make a public declaration of our faith in Jesus Christ and are strengthened by the Holy Spirit to live out that faith in our lives and in the context of our church community. When the bishop confirms you, he asks you to reaffirm the covenant of your baptism; then he lays hands on you and prays that the Holy Spirit would strengthen, empower, and sustain you. In many ways it’s pretty simple. It’s also very powerful.
At its heart, then, confirmation is a gift and a grace—yet one more way that God provides for us to deepen and strengthen and grow our relationship with our Lord, our savior, our redeemer and friend.
Up next: I’d like to be confirmed, I think I’ve already been confirmed, I’m not sure I want to be confirmed… Figuring out whether confirmation is for you.
In the meantime, please comment and question below!