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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Jacob's Confirmation

Our little buddy was confirmed at Redeemer a couple of weeks ago. I was grateful that Pastor Petersen allowed me to participate as we blessed those little rascals.

The rite of Confirmation is kind of a slippery thing in Lutheran practice. We don't recognize it as a divinely instituted thing but a human tradition that has merit.

Lutherans are not uniform in how we practice confirmation or even in its purpose. Many American Lutherans treat confirmation as a pre-requisite for receiving the Holy Communion. The most common age for confirmation is after 8th grade. Others do early communion and still confirm at age 13 or 14.

The rite itself is not the main thing either. The heart of it is the time spent (often 2 years) in instruction. Many churches still use Martin Luther's Small Catechism as the basic text other than Holy Scripture. The rite is a blessing but is most significant in that it leads to their first communion (the highest blessing).

I like the way our congregation does it. As both a pastor and a parent, I strongly prefer earlier communion. I cannot justify making our young people wait until they are 14 years old before allowing them to receive the benefits of Christ's Supper.

I agree with the notion that a person should receive basic instruction in the Christian faith before being admitted to the altar. But waiting until a child is a teenager, arguably the most difficult period of their young lives and the time when they are most likely to rebel and question their faith, before giving them the Body and Blood of Christ seems strange.

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Judy P in Pgh said...

Way to go, Jacob! Nice to see you finally smiling in a family photo :)

Julie Stiegemeyer said...

Ah, you know him very well, don't you Judy? :)

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