“It’s not your grandmother’s confirmation”
(June, page 24 in the print edition) reminded me of my confirmation
years. It was there that I memorized hymns, Bible passages and the
catechism. In the article Nancy Going says: “If the church honored that
reality (faith is people-oriented and experiential), confirmation ...
would be a different process than stuffing information into kids’ heads
for three years.” In my father’s final days, I recited the Bible verses
and hymns that were stuffed into my head to comfort him and me. On
Sept. 11 as I crossed the bridge from Manhattan to Queens with masses
of frightened people, I prayed the hymns and passages I had memorized
in confirmation. Whenever I feel doubt or fear, it’s the words learned
so many years ago that give me peace. To this day I try live out my
faith in the light of being called, enlightened, sanctified and
preserved by the Spirit. I’m grateful for what was “stuffed into my
head” at the ages of 11 to 13. Let’s remember that we’re nourishing
young Christians for the present—and building on their baptismal
foundation for their future.
Learning the creeds and teachings of the Lutheran church can be somewhat dry at times. Is that bad? Must our kids always be entertained? Pastors should be offering hands-on Christian activities at the same time, such as working at the food kitchen or participating in worship by baking the bread for theeucharist. If kids are to demonstrate some knowledge of Lutheran theology and how we are to act as Christians in this world, let’s keep confirmation where it is. Kids want to belong,and confirmation is a rite of belonging to God and to the Lutheran church.
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© 2016 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers