We are moving, and for the past month, every spare moment has been spent sorting and packing our stuff; deciding what to keep, and what to throw away. In the closet under the stairs, was a box marked “Barb – from a former life. Keep.” I had forgotten what was in it. So, I pulled it out, opened it up, and became lost in time. There were old year books, my orange and black pom-poms (Go Chiefs!), a rainbow-colored bandana, a peace sign necklace and a 45 vinyl record from my Acapella Choir days. And, there was my old, worn Bible that my parents had given me on my Confirmation Day!
I ran my finger over my name, engraved in gold letters on the front cover, then opened it up to the first page. There, in my mother’s handwriting, was written, “Presented to Barbara on her Confirmation, May 29, 1966, from Mom & Dad.” I sat back on my heels, and thought about my Confirmation. For two, long years, I spent every Tuesday evening in class with my pastor and several other 7th & 8th graders, memorizing the Small Catechism, and learning what it meant to be Lutheran. After all that written and memorization work, we still had to correctly answer random questions taken from the Catechism as we stood, sweating in our white robes, before the whole congregation! It was nerve-wracking, and yet wonderful, because, from that day on, I was no longer a child in the eyes of the Church, but an Adult Member.
I placed the Bible carefully back in the box with a smile. “How fitting” I thought, “that this Bible should be kept in a box labeled “from a former life.” My Confirmation had made a profound impression on me, and my life was never really the same again. And, now, I am privileged to help other young people prepare for their own confirmations in what is called the Rite of Affirmation of Baptism, which we at Zion observe on the Day of Pentecost. Each of them, in their own way, says, “When I was baptized, someone made promises for me about God. But, today, I make those promises for my self.” Then, I, along with their parents, lay my hands on them in blessing, fanning into life the flame of the Holy Spirit that has dwelt in them since their baptisms.
It is an awesome thing to see the Spirit take wing and move in their young hearts as it did in mine, as they leave the former life behind to move into the future that God has prepared for them. One day, they will pass the faith on to other young people. And so it goes, from generation to generation. Of such is the work of the Holy Spirit, and of the Church.
May you and yours be blessed this Pentecost season,
Pastor Barb <><
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God,
which is in you through the laying on of my hands… 2 Timothy 1:6