Exploring Your Faith: Confirmation
Part of being Christian is exploring your faith. At some point in that exploration, one can decide that this path of following Jesus, and this community of the Episcopal Church, is the path of your choice and so they choose to be confirmed. Whether you choose to be confirmed or not, I hope that the outline below may be helpful in sorting out your own spiritual path.
The sacrament of Confirmation is an adult re-affirmation of the promises that your parents made for you when you were baptized. You certainly don’t need to have everything figured out before you are confirmed. Those of us who are adults hopefully are continuing to expand and deepen our faith throughout our lives. What you do need is to have a sense that this Christian community is the one that you want to make your own. To be confirmed is to understand the promises and to commit to living into them.
So here are some pieces of the exploration which I hope will be fun and interesting:
1. Service: Action is a key part of following Jesus. You will be working with the Christian education coordinator in planning a service of worship or a piece of the service in which the younger children could participate and perhaps lead. You might also want to explore outreach in some program or event outside the congregational life.
2. Study: Coming to know who Jesus is and what he means is a life long process. I would like you to read the gospel of Mark over the next several weeks or months and take some notes:
* What is Jesus passionate about?
* Then write two paragraphs to summarize the key things you think were central in Jesus’ message. (This might be a good summer project.)
3. Belonging: Following Jesus is not possible as an individual without a community– that is why he called people together and together asked them to continue his work. So I would like you to interview 4 people – from the church and one from your family. You should make a list of 6 questions which would help you to know this person and how their faith has impacted their lives. See if they can help you understand what prayer is for them and how they do it. Each of you will need to choose one person from the church (not your parent) whom you would like to be your parish sponsor. You could choose one of these three or another person you know and like in the church. (You could take someone to the church during coffee hour to do these interviews if you like.)
4. Prayer: Prayer is anything which we do which intentionally opens up our relationship with God. Some prayer is with words, some is not. Each person needs to find ways to pray which work for them and fits their personality. One spiritual practice (or prayer form) which I would like you to experiment with is called “the Daily Examen.” It is an ancient form in which each day at the end of the day, you take about 10 minutes, and reflect on it. You can journal or just do it without writing. Please Google “daily examen,” and you will find five steps to follow. I would suggest that you try doing this until Easter. I know that you will not be able to do this everyday, but try to do it at least three times in the week. It can really open your eyes to how God is present in our lives everyday. Later, we can explore another prayer form.
5. Conversation: I would like you to meet (this could be in person or by email sometimes) with your sponsor every month, to check in about how it is going. I would like to meet with you twice as well. One of these will be to introduce you to the Baptismal promises which you would make if confirmed.
6. Retreat: For those who choose to be confirmed, the bishop will want to meet with you at the pre-Confirmation retreat which is an overnight retreat. The two retreat date options are March 18 at 7:30 p.m. to March 19 at 3 p.m. and April 8 at 7:30 p.m. to April 9 at 3 p.m. Please check out www.diomassyouth.org for more information about this retreat. You will need to pre-register online for the one you choose.
7. The next Confirmation is October 15th, 2011 at the Cathedral of St. Paul, Boston, at 10:00 a.m.
I hope that together we might be able to grow a little group who will be doing this together. Please let me know if this is something in which you would be interested.
May God bless you richly in this journey.