Message for Sunday, February 21, 2021 – Confirmation Sunday
At the end of this service at the Church of the Transfiguration today, we shall welcome seven persons into the fellowship of Christ, our holy catholic and apostolic Church. From the Church of the Transfiguration : Karen Wareham-Jones, Jenna Wareham-Lewis, Jeanne-Marie Malcolm and Elecia Henry; From the Church of St. John the Evangelist : Aaliyah Jowahieorr; From St. Martin of Tours : Titiania Wint; and from the Church of St. Lukes: Wendell Lindo. This means that they shall be able to participate in partaking of the foretaste of the heavenly banquet. But to what are we welcoming these people? Into what kind of fellowship are we welcoming them?
I share with you the following excerpt from the Book Educating and Equipping for Worship for Service, a Publication of the Education and Youth Department, the Passage entitled “What is Confirmation”
The term Confirmation is not found in the Bible, however, it is known as “the laying on of hands.” In our tradition, it is the Bishop who carries this Episcopal function. It is an Episcopal function meaning only a Bishop performs the rite. In the 1662 Prayer Book the rite is entitled “The Order of Confirmation or Laying on of hands upon those that are Baptized and come to the years of discretion.”
Confirmation according to the Compact Oxford Dictionary 2006 UK usage means: (1) the action of confirming or the state of being confirmed. (2) the rite at which a baptized person affirms their belief and is admitted as a full member of the Christian Church. (3) the Jewish ceremony of bar mitzvah.
In the Christian tradition it means to confirm, strengthen our commitment and faith in Jesus Christ, and at the same time to be strengthened by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
The question is usually asked, at what age should Confirmation be administered? Some persons believe that the child who reaches the age of twelve could be ready for confirmation. It is more desirable that persons who come for Confirmation, should be prepared to make a personal commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and be sufficiently instructed in the Christian Faith.
What is the New Testament evidence for Confirmation? The scripture references for Confirmation are Acts 8:14-17 and Acts 19:1-7.
In Acts 8:14-17 – After Philip preached the gospel to the Samaritans and made many converts, they were baptized and the church sent for Peter and John to lay their hands on them, so that they would receive the Holy Spirit because they were only baptized.
In Acts 19:1-6 – we are given an account of certain disciples who had received John’s baptism only and were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
It is required that those who come for Confirmation should have been baptized into the name of the Holy Trinity: i.e. Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Confirmation is the celebration of the giving of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands.
We rejoice today as these 7 persons stand and join with us in this fellowship to eternity.
It is with joy that we welcome the leader of this part of the fellowship, His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Howard Gregory and Mrs. Gregory.