My son Carl completed another important step towards manhood when he stood up in front of our church this morning and completed a journey that Sue and I began with him almost 16 years earlier. Carl publically proclaimed his desire to be a Christian, and confirmed the invitation that Sue and I made for him, asking God’s spirit to dwell in his heart.
Carl and the other three confirmands at Augustana Lutheran Church walked into the sanctuary with Pastor Kathy before taking their seats with their parents and family. Pastor Kathy’s sermon was devoted almost entirely to the “faith journeys” written by each of the four during their final month of studies. She read large portions of each journey after telling us which one she was reading from. I was amazed at the depth of understanding each of these four young people demonstrated when writing their individual faith journeys, but Carl’s especially, gave me an insight into the kind of person he was becoming spiritually, and it filled me with joy!
After the sermon, the four confirmands went to the front of the church, and each one recited their chosen scripture passage followed by an explanation of why the verse was special to them. Carl chose John 11:35 “Jesus began to weep” and went on to explain how the passage demonstrated that Jesus had human emotions, and fully understood what it was like to be a human, even though he was God.
Each of the four then confirmed their desire to be a Christian, and then they knelt, one by one, at the altar while being anointed by Pastor Kathy. Each confirmand had their family join them for this blessing, their hands reaching out, touching the confirmand on the shoulder, head and back while Pastor Kathy made the sign of the cross on their foreheads with oil. A tear came to my eye as I remembered holding Carl as an infant, years earlier, when he had received the same sign on his forehead while being baptized. My baby boy had grown up, and was now choosing for himself!
The final part of the confirmation service involved the confirmands presenting the body and blood of Christ to the congregation as they received Holy Communion. Pastor Kathy explained that everyone present had spiritually fed and nourished the four during their growth in faith, and it was now their turn to feed and nourish the congregation in return. It was indeed a special feeling to receive the broken bread from my own son, while hearing the words, “The body of Christ, given for you.” My life had somehow come full circle, and there would now occasionally be times when it would be Carl teaching and caring for me, instead of the other way around. I felt like that happened today, and I couldn’t have been prouder of my dear son!