Posted by: Bishop Sam Mueller
The confirmation season will soon be upon us, and it is time for us to pray for our confirmands and help them prepare for this important step in their lives.
The duty to “know our stuff” is quite clear from Deuteronomy 6: 6-8, where parents are instructed to teach their children about their faith in order to ensure a blessed future: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.”
This is a job for all of us, and we can also live our faith such that our new young people may experience it by our example. Our great hope is that our belief in Jesus Christ, in His life and teaching—as well as His death, resurrection, ascension, and return—may be firmly rooted in the hearts of all our confirmands, such that no one, and no power, can ever take it away from them. That is the first challenge we face.
The reason this is so important is that we cannot merely be content to be rich in Christ, but have also been given the mandate to spread His teachings and share our spiritual wealth with others. This means that we—along with our confirmands—must not only know our “stuff” but also share it with others.
But here is another challenge for us: in the process, we must be careful not to give the impression that we are “know-it-alls” who have an answer for everything. Our faith certainly gives us a solid grounding and purpose in life, and it definitely provides us with a future goal. It brings sense to our lives as a whole, and we
have certainly experienced our faith in practice. We
have experienced answered prayers and so on, but that does not mean we can automatically understand everyone in their
particular situation or system of belief, or impose our faith upon them. We do not have the answers to explain God’s ways, activities, thoughts, or justification for the circumstances which people find themselves in. All we are to do is share what we have with them in a kind, loving, empathetic way. It is an offer, not an obligation.
We also must take care not to let other beliefs cloud our own understanding or faith! Hence the seriousness of the words in Deuteronomy 6. Our challenge is to remain firm in our own faith and its practice, and full of generosity and compassion for our neighbour. This might seem impossible for us, but the Lord has equipped us with everything we need: the gift of the Holy Spirit, and constant exposure to His word, grace, and substance. Let us avail ourselves of His help and strive to be a blessing for others.