We had been through two years of confirmation studies, meeting every week during the school year on Saturday mornings.
The week before we had been called forward in front of the congregation to repeat from memory various parts of the Small Catechism. If this had been school most of my class would most likely have failed any real examination. It was truly by the grace of God or the pressure of parents to get their kids done, that most of us were ever allowed to be confirmed.
This has been the experience of most people going through confirmation. It’s a man-made Christian education process with a graduation-like ending and the results are as expected. Studies in the past have shown that only about 25% return to the church in any capacity after confirmation. I’m sure that number has continued to drop over the years as the church loses significance in the lives of most people.
This coming Sunday we have three young people who will be confirmed. I’ve truly enjoyed teaching them and getting to know them.
On this Sunday they will speak their statements of faith, profess our common faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed, receive our prayers and blessings and then what?
Of course I hope that they will continue in their walk with God and their relationship with us as their Christian family. However, I also know our tendency as human beings to drift away from God and His family. So my real hope is not in these young people.
No, my true hope and trust is in God the Father who created them, in Jesus Christ who redeemed them and in the Holy Spirit who in the waters of baptism and through the Word planted the gift of faith in them. My trust is in the promise of God that was made to these young people in their baptism. Through Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection they have been promised the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.
Will they be faithful to that covenant promise? Time will only tell, but again, I know that God will be faithful to them.
So I invite you to join us this Reformation Sunday to surround these young people with our presence, a witness to the God who is faithful.
– Pastor Tim