"Confirmation," our archdeacon Mark Sluss joked during our February 16 Monday night service, "is a liturgy in search of a purpose." That evening, three of my housemates would be confirmed. Bishop Smith, by laying his hands on Rosemary Haynes, Martin Geiger, and Chris Potter, would confirm them in the same gesture as Jesus' blessing of Peter.
But why exactly were three of us so wanting to participate in this service? Since the three had been baptized later in life, this wasn't a sort of "Baptism-lite." And aren't we already living faithful lives anyway, especially having signed onto an ESC program, what were we confirming?
Our Gospel reading of Jesus' Transfiguration allowed us to explore this question as a community. In the reading, Peter is taken aback by the display of Jesus in the air with Elijah and Moses, but it is Jesus who tells Peter to return down the mountain and tell nobody about what had saw. There may be astounding, tranfixing moments, and then we are called to descend the mountain and continue our work in the world.
Archdeacon Mark Sluss turned his initial joke around, and encouraged those being confirmed to ask themselves what purpose this liturgy could serve in their life, and how it was furthering them in their spiritual journey. I find it especially coming how Martin is seriously exploring the priesthood, and Chris and Rosemary the vocational deaconate.
As I now see it, our confirmations are both about us recognizing the church, and the church recognizing just who God made us to be.