Sunday, May 10, 2015

Confirmation over 2 Services (with session meeting in middle)

9AM – Bibles
At the 11am service these confirmads will receive stoles that represent their roles people doing the ministry of God. But first, now, we will present them with their bibles. The bible represents each confirmand's role within the ongoing story of God's love, a god who created and cares for all things. As scripture was quoted on the day of Pentecost, we likewise hold scripture close, to be read and re-read, reflected on in times of need, to interpret and reinterpret through honest conversation with community, to follow in discernment. It is true as Paul tells Timothy that:
Congregation: Since childhood you have known the holy scriptures that help you to be wise in a way that leads to salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus. Every scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character, so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good.

Friends: Chris, Jackson, and Sammy have been baptized and are members of the body of Christ. They have been nurtured within the Christian community and instructed in the belief and practice of the church. They come before us today to be confirmed in faith and affirm their bapism. Remember your baptism and give thanks.
By the waters of baptism and the power of the Holy Spirit God claims us and calls each one by name. God unites us to Christ in his death and resurrection and grafts us into the body of Christ as members of the church. God washes us clean by forgiving our sin; commissions us to be a royal priesthood with Christ in his ministry to the world; empowers us to live in newness of life as people of the Word; and invites us to be renewed at the Lord's Table until we feast with him in glory. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God.

Led by our confirmands let us profess our faith together:

Do you believe in God the Father?

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ?

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

If we the church affirm these confirmands as essential in their roles within God's story, let us do so using the words that echo those of God as Jesus began his earthly ministry:
Congregation:You are our beloved sons, in whom we are well pleased.

10AM – Statement of Faith
Jackson: We believe in the creator god, who acts as nurse and loving parent to all creation. It is in the image of this god, known as love, that we are each made. Being made in the image of love means following the guidelines of manna and mercy in all we do, making sure each has what they need and treating all with respect and grace.
Chris: We believe that Jesus was this god showing us what it means to live as the image of god, how to live as love, not in fear. Jesus lived like us, fully human, but as a miracle worker showed himself to be fully connected to god. He showed us the path to redemption, how to overcome fear and selfishness even unto death. So, through Jesus we know that a life of love has no end, not even death can contain it.
Sammy: We believe in the spirit who is found in all things, and who is always with each of us, reminding and guiding us as we discern that which god would want from us.
We believe that god, as shown through the life of Jesus, and guided by the spirit wants us to live our lives to the fullest, taking risks without fear, living out love for god as seen in our treatment of others.
We believe in a church made up of diverse people, who find their unity not in uniformity but through compassion and grace shown to one another. In doing so we form a community which seeks to discern and learn ever more about god while sharing in one another's burdens and doing what we can for those who cannot do for themselves.
We believe that we are ever seeking the mysteries of life, but that we wish to do that as people of god, created in god's image, and living out god's life of manna and mercy, justice and grace.

11AM – Stoles
In the 9am service these confirmands received bibles of their choice. These bibles represent their role in the ongoing story of God's love in the world. We now will present them with their stoles. The stole is a symbol of ministry, and as these confirmads have presented their own statement of faith they now are ready to tell their own story and follow in the words that Jesus read in the temple:
Confirmands: The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn. You shall be called priests of the Lord, you shall be ministers of our God.

Blessed are you, most gracious God, for you have given to us the gift of baptism. Through water and the Spirit you have claimed us as your own, cleansing us from sin and giving us new life. You called us into your church to be your servants in the world in the name of Jesus Christ. You promised to be present among us, to direct and defend your people by the power of your Spirit. And now we give you thanks, for your faithfulness to us and to these, who come to be confirmed and affirm their part in the covenant of baptism. By the power of your Spirit continue in them the good work you have begun that they may willingly serve you in love and joy with courage and truth.

Along with our confirmands let us confess our faith together:
1: We believe in the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who gathers, protects and cares for his Church by his Word and his Spirit.
2: God has done this since the beginning of the world and will continue to do so to the end.
1: We believe in one holy, universal Christian Church, the communion of saints called from the entire human family.
2: We believe that Christ's work of reconciliation is made manifest in the Church as the community of believers who have been reconciled with God and with one another.
1: We share one faith, have one calling, are of one soul and one mind.
2: We have one God and Father, are filled with one Spirit, are baptised with one baptism, eat of one bread and drink of one cup, confess one Name, are obedient to one Lord, work for one cause, and share one hope.
1: Together we come to know the height and the breadth and the depth of the love of Christ.
2: Together we are built up to the stature of Christ, to the new humanity.
1: Together we acknowledge and bear one another's burdens, thereby fulfilling the law of Christ.
2: We need one another.
1: We need to build one another up, admonishing and comforting one another.
2: We also suffer with one another for the sake of righteousness.
1: We pray together.
2: We serve God together in this world.
1: Together we fight against all which may threaten or hinder our unity.
2. Our unity appears as we obey Christ's call to give ourselves willingly and joyfully to one another for mutual benefit and blessing.
ALL: For Jesus Alone is Lord. To the one and only God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be the honour and the glory for ever and ever.

If we as the church now affirm these confirmands as they go forth to meet God and join in the work of God let us do so with words that echo those God met Jesus with at the beginning of his ministry:
Congregation: You are our Beloved Sons, in whom we are well pleased.

Let us pray that those affirming their baptism may go into the world, giving witness to God's love and grace.

Let us pray that, Chris, Jackson, and Sammy may know the peace of Christ in times of trouble, doubt and sorrow.

Let us pray that they, with all of us, may remember our need to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray that we may grow together in the knowledge and understanding of God's Word.

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