In life when we confirm something, we say yes to it. At confirmation we essentially say yes to Jesus’ call to follow him on our journey throughout life. We confirm our faith to him. Parents and godparents will usually have said yes for us when we were babies and unable to speak for ourselves at baptism, but confirmation gives us the chance to say yes.
I know as a member of the Scout association I ought not to confess this, but I have on occasions, when out hiking, found myself completely lost. I am sure that we have all had a similar experience if not out hiking then driving or walking through an unfamiliar town or city, because we have either no map or an inadequate one, or because our Satnav isn’t working properly.
Confirming our faith in Jesus is like deciding to travel on life’s journey with a superbly accurate map or a truly effective Satnav. With the consecration of our new Suffragan Bishop of Bolton the Revd Dr Matthew Porter we now have the opportunity for those who wish to do so to step forward and say yes.
Bishop Matthew’s pastoral staff – known as a crosier – that was handed to him by the Archbishop of York at the end of the service belonged to the first Bishop of Bolton. It’s been lovingly restored by Ravens, expert silversmiths in Sheffield and will serve as a constant reminder that he continues the work of others, in caring for God’s church and bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to a new generation.
In the early Church baptism and the “laying on of hands” were performed on adult converts. However, over time the two acts of baptism and the “laying on of hands” became separate in the Western Church as baptism began to be carried out at the Easter Vigil in parishes where the bishop was not present. The laying on of hands by the bishop then had to wait until it could be performed later at confirmation.
Our dear Vicar Hugh left me some details of a few people who were thinking about confirmation, in true Hugh style some of the details were a little vague in places. To complete this process and prepare for a suitable service of confirmation if you or someone you care for is interested in confirming their faith it would be wonderful if you could let me or one of our Churchwardens know.
To carry the “journey” metaphor a bit further, confirmation is an opportunity as a time to take stock of where we have come from and seek God’s help preparing for whatever lies ahead for us.