Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, August 05, 2013

The Order of Confirmation - Rector's Ramblings - August 4, 2013

Continuing our look at the Pastoral Offices of the Book of Common Prayer, having already done Baptism and the Offices of Instruction, we now move into the next office – The Order of Confirmation.
Known as a minor sacrament (compared to the dominical sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion which are generally necessary for salvation), Confirmation has several emphases.
Since most are baptized as children, and promises are made for us by our sponsors at our Baptism, Confirmation is when we make a public affirmation of those promises.  The candidate, no longer content to rest on the promises of others, answers now for themselves.  During the service the bishop asks, “Do ye here, in the presence of God, and of this congregation, renew the solemn promise and vow that ye made, or that was made in your name, at your Baptism; ratifying and confirming the same; and acknowledging yourselves bound to believe and to do all those things which ye then undertook, or your Sponsors then undertook for you?” (p.296)
But in addition to a public affirmation of a promise already made, it is a sacramental gift asking God the Holy Ghost in increase more and more in the individual.  The Bishop prays that the candidate “…daily increase in thy Holy Spirit more and more, until he come unto thy everlasting kingdom.” (p. 297)
In the past, Holy Communion was usually delayed until after Confirmation, but Confirmation was held earlier (in some places as young as age seven).  No longer a requirement for Holy Communion, Confirmation is generally done around the age of 12 (much like a Jewish child has their bar mitzvah) or older as their conscience dictates.
The next Confirmation service at St. John’s will most likely be in the winter or spring.