So we just celebrated Confirmation Sunday -- when 17 of our 6th graders and a few 7th graders confirmed their faith. The celebration was a first for me. I had always heard about confirmation ceremonies, but never quite knew what they were or what they were about. Now that I've seen them, I think they're more like "coming out" parties. Kind of like the debutante ball, where we young girls are introduced to society as young ladies. Only this coming out party says a bit more than just I'm moving into a more mature phase of life. This one says, "I've made a decision to follow Christ" or "I'm riding shotgun with Jesus and that's my story and I'm sticking to it."
As I watched the kids -- barely in their teens -- answer questions about prevenient grace -- the grace that is given to us before we were born . . . justifying grace -- the grace that we are given when we accept God's call on our life and sanctifying grace, which sustains us as we continue to walk with Christ, I was reminded of how big of deal it was for these youth to take this public stance. There they were dipping their hand in the bowl to douse water on their forehead as a sign of remembrance of their baptism, then kneeling before the church to have hands laid on them by their parents and family for prayer, symbolically saying that they too believe in this God of their parents. That they too have a foundation in this Christ who died for them. That they too wanted to live for someone other than themselves.
And I thought, that's a big deal. A huge commitment -- one that takes courage to admit. It was sort of akin to the the day (in my early 30's) I put the "God's girl" sign on my car, which too was a public proclamation of who I am and what team I play for.
Now I'm not naive enough to think that they'll always live accordingly. I mean part of being confirmed is agreeing to turn away from evil, work against it and accepting whatever call God has over your life. Frankly, that's a tall order -- one I haven't always adhered to. But at least somewhere along the way seeds have been planted and at various times I'm reminded of what the sign reads on my truck. Sunday was one of those days. It was their confirmation ceremony, yes, but I left service that day thinking it was most definitely my re-affirmation ceremony.