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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Incredible Joy of Confirmation Weekend

This past weekend we were privileged yet again to celebrate with 10 young people the culmination of their journey through our Confirmation program.  These 10 have spent the past 8 months learning about God's word, deepening their understanding of the Christian faith, coming to a clearer sense of what it means to belong to the family of God also called the church and determining for themselves where they are in their own personal journey of faith.  Our tradition is to gather on Saturday night for a family time where each of the students must either share the faith journey paper that they have written or talk about a significant experience that has made an impact on them during the Confirmation process.  All 10 of them were just magnificent.  The depth of their understanding, the clear articulation of what they've learned, how God is shaping them, and evidence that they desire to keep growing closer to Jesus and embracing more fully what it means to be a Christian in our world was amazing.  These kids have learned a lot over this year and in the process also bless the pastors along the way! 
The students also have to recite the Apostles' Creed from memory.  They do this on Saturday night and in church on Sunday.  They did well.  It was a proud moment!
Each of the pastors shared a bit too from their experience of the year.  This year has been a bit special because the kids came together in a unique way.  All walls and barriers dropped, they embraced one another and left no one out.  It was pretty great to come together with them and see how they treated one another, to experience their eagerness in learning, to interact with their young and curious minds around matters of faith.  This is one of the best aspects of my profession!  On Saturday we eat really good cake too as we celebrate with great joy the accomplishments of our Confirmands.
Vanity moment: The way my dress is sitting, my stomach looks HUGE.  OK, I could lose a few but this is a distortion!
We return on Sunday morning for our Confirmation worship service.  The students wear the traditional white robes, process in and share in the service.  Two of the Confirmands read scripture and three brave ones shared their faith journey.  This is manna from heaven...bread for the journey.  Nothing encourages a church family more than hearing how God is at work in the lives of their young people.  We swapped sanctuaries with the Swedish group so we could use the big sanctuary and have the organ for this special Sunday.  It was great fun to participate in this service.  The kids did well with reciting the creed and they confirmed their faith in Jesus in front of the entire congregation.  The most touching aspect of our service is when the parents join the students near the end of the service and lay hands on their kid as the pastors pray for each student individually.  It is moving to see the parents surround their children with love, visible and symbolic and continue to offer them heartfelt support.  The service ends and the students recess out of the sanctuary with their parents by their side.  It is a moment of great joy for all involved.
We have completed yet another Confirmation year!  So many commented on what a great day Confirmation Sunday represents.  I could not agree more...it is indeed a favorite of Pastor Jodi's.