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Confirmation or Conformation?

With our confirmation service taking place tonight, it seems like a good time to ask the question: what does it mean anyway?

One approach is to take it literally: it’s a chance for those on whose behalf promises were made many years ago, when they were too small to speak for themselves, to publicly give their assent. They are confirming that those are promises that they would like to make for themselves.

The cynic might have a different view of things. They could suggest that this marks the successful indoctrination of young people, the culmination of a nefarious process that has been holding back humanity from time immemorial. It’s not confirmation, it’s conformation - we’re marking with joy that another group of spiritual lemmings have jumped off the same cliff to settle in for lives of ignorance.

IOI want to suggest a third angle. Tonight we gladly recognise that God has kept his promises. Though a baby has no claim on God, he has chosen to guard them and guide them through their maturing into thoughtful, compassionate and delighted followers of Christ. That’s not a work that they can do, nor that we can do in them. What we confirm is that we recognise that God’s Spirit has brought them to life.

It turns out that this is not merely a difference of a single letter, but the difference that a singular God makes: he does it all, for each of us, out of his kindness.

Or, for the more astronomically-minded, he makes each of us satellites orbiting our King.

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