Sunday, 23 April 2017

Formals and confirmation

It is that time of year for the year 12 students at schools around the country.  The old "Coming out" balls are now re-vamp into the year 12 formal.  A process that indicates that our young men and women are now 'adult' and capable of partaking in life.  An easing into society and a new life.  A saying good bye to old things and a toast to the new life that the end of school should bring.  In the Christian world we have celebrated the coming into new life with the resurrection morning on Easter day.  We have said goodbye to the old and re-affirmed our vows to live as Christ.  Today at St David's we celebrate again.  We celebrate the next step in a journey for those who have given thought and consideration to their faith.  The call by God onto the path of faith is ongoing and at each step we celebrate and mark the occasion today for 9 people who have heard Christ's call and come to confirm the vows that their God-parents took on for them at Baptism.

 Confirmation, like the formal for the year 12, some will see  as a passing out from the Church, which it may well be, but it is an acknowledgement of the faith journey.  Christ does not ask his disciples to come to Church.  He asks them to worship God and to go out and make disciples.  He asks them to love God and their fellow men, women and creation as much if not more than they love themselves. If this is the case, which I believe it is, then if those who come for confirmation are not seen by the institutional church again for a long time what does this mean?  Lets look at what happens after a year 12 formal.

Are we prepared to let them go into the world and make disciples?

The young adults eventually do their examinations and pass out into the wider world.  This means that parents start to become empty nesters, we feel the loss of our 'children' as they make their way in the world.  They sometimes return on a regular basis and often we go out to meet them were they are.  Yet, it is a fact that eventually they no longer see the family home as part of themselves except as a memory or a place of comfort to return to when feeling down,  The parents love is always there for them and they are welcome to come back at any time, even if they are really down on their luck,  All is forgiven when they come into the parents arms.

Funny that, maybe we as an institutional church need to start acting more like parents in the world rather than ingratiates when the youth do not come.  Just like parents we are generationally different from the children in our outlook.  We need to let them go and perhaps have safe havens for them to come back to when they are in need rather than places of discomfort.  We perhaps need to understand our role in their lives as being somewhat different to a grasping miser who wants everything to stay in one big happy place forever.  Perhaps in their own way confirmees who go out and do not return are actually doing what God has asked of them, 'Go and make disciples'.  Maybe not in the manner the Church would like to see, increased attendance etc, but perhaps in the manner that God is calling them to.  Parents often wish to control the lives of their children instead of allowing them of the leash.  We, as mature Christians, need to allow them of the leash and allow God to lead them.  We need to be their to pick up the pieces and comfort those who have been rejected by the world but we should not be holding on to them as if we could protect them.  God calls and we have to have certainty in the understanding that God knows what God is doing.  So let us bless our confirmees and allow them the freedom to bring God's message of love through their own expressions of God's will not our thoughts of what God wills.

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