Confirmation - a new milestone - cycles from the Bible.

  1. 1.
    the action of confirming something or the state of being confirmed.
    "high unemployment figures were further confirmation that the economy was in recession"
  2. 2.
    (in the Christian Church) the rite at which a baptized person, especially one baptized as an infant, affirms Christian belief and is admitted as a full member of the Church.
    "the kind of joy mixed with tears one finds at weddings and confirmations"

In our denomination, adults that are baptised are usually confirmed at the same time. It didn't happen to me
that way as the year was baptised our diocese didn't have a Bishop. I'm quite pleased it worked out that way for all sorts of reasons.

So it was in the Seventh year of my life as a Christian that I was confirmed into the Scottish Episcopal Church by Bishop Gregor Duncan. With a deep satisfaction that emanated from within he was accompanied by the priest that baptised me Kelvin Holdsworth who happens to be the provost of St Mary's Cathedral. I was confirmed in the place that I publicly gave my my soul to Jesus six and a bit years earlier.

The bible provides us with cycles. We were given the seven day cycle from the story of creation. The world as we know it was created in seven days. My faith was birthed and completed in seven years with a cycle of seven.

The Jewish practice of Shmittah takes seven years, the Ground is ploughed and nurtured and grown for six years and on the seventh year it lies fallow.

Debts are remitted after seven years according to biblical rules.This is particularly relevant for me because my spiritual debts are released through my baptism and seven years later stamped and sealed through my confirmation. When a person is released from a debt then they are able to start over, with new hope and new aspirations.

The number seven is very significant. There are six days that we toil and on the seventh we rest. In the seventh year of my faith although I am resting, I am actually taking stock. trying to decide where and how I want my future in my church life to play out. creation took place over six days and on the seventh God rested, although I doubt very much whether God needs rest.

Cycles of seven impact the biblical code everywhere, seven cycles of seven years ends in a jubilee year. 

Jacob toiled seven years for Rachel only to be tricked into marrying Leah. He then toiled another seven years and was rewarded with Rachel. And so God rewards us in cycles too, and my reward - confirmation. Who knows where Ill be in seven years time - I hope I will be situated somewhere in the service of my God.

I could probably write a tome on the significance of the number seven in the bible, and relate it to my own faith journey and experience, I think my part has been said, and wish all my readers a fabulous week and enjoy this the seventh month!

The gift of Hope

1 Peter 1:3-6

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice,[a] even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials

Next week, I'll be reinforcing the commitment I made to my faith six years ago at Baptism. I will be confirmed into the Scottish Episcopal Church - an Anglican church (But probably soon to be treated as a naughty child by Canterbury).

Confirmation is very important to me for many reasons.While Baptism can happen privately, confirmation is a very public affair and requires the participation of the Bishop. It is an event where one publicly declares ones commitment to the faith -No mistaking the intention there.

My faith provides a spiritual renewal for me every single day. I am imperfect and I sin, sometimes in thought, sometimes in word and sometimes in deed. Sometimes in all three. But it is my faith that guides me through the maze of spiritual self fulfillment and provides me with the wherewithall to keep going.

I am not the person that I was six years ago. There are some things that remain stuck in my mind from the morning of my baptism. I was baptised at the Easter morning service - the really early bonfire service - yes that's the one. 

My partner was always overly OCD about time keeping. I had prepared to read the book of Ruth in Hebrew at the service. I had put a lot of effort into preparing for the biggest religious shift of my life. The screaming and shouting started an hour before the service was due to start. I was in trouble because we were "late". It was rush, rush, rush and a lot of yelling at me about my bad timekeeping. We were all shuffled into the car and my partner drove us the fastest route. I realised half way there that I had forgotten my reading behind. I was deeply disappointed. It was brushed off as too bad because we were running late!

We arrived fifteen minutes early. If I had of been given just five minutes to stop and go though my checklist, the way I felt on arrival would have been different. Wearing white -check, same shoes -check, All the kids -check, Hebrew reading print off -check. I felt robbed of a special part of my transition of Jew to Christian.

My baptism was undoubtedly special, there is only ever one. I have never forgotten the date or time. 

The journey since has been spectacular. I have realised how central my faith is to my life. When things have been good I've been able to experience and express gratitude. When things have been hard I've been able to regroup my faith context and explore my beliefs. While I have been let down by family, by clergy and by the system,I have never been let down by my faith. My G-d.

Now I'm going to be confirmed. Again there is only ever one. This one will happen in the evening.This one I will have control over. No freaking about time frames, I will choose my dress, I will make my way there, I will present myself before the Bishop to reinforce my commitment that I made over six years ago. And I will have my witnesses - those that have watched me grow in my faith.

The world was made in seven days, and in my seventh year as a Christian I am to be confirmed. Hardship has lit my spiritual path for me. In the next seven years I will focus on my ministry as a Christian. My faith has allowed me to discover my spiritual gifts too. I know my path is to work with the poor and the elderly and probably the elderly poor. 

When Christians are baptised they are welcomed into a life of ministry. You dont have to be ordained to practice faithful ministry in the Church. In fact we are called to ministry at baptism. And this is where faith is the key. Wherever I am to land up, it will be with the guidance of Christ. If I am to live out my days at a mission in the poorest part of Africa, then that is what will happen, or the poorest parts of Glasgow, that's where my faith and spiritual journey will take me.

Poverty, pain and loneliness is not selective,it occurs everywhere in the world.Working with those who experience this is definitely where I will go because we all have spiritual gifts and the one gift that I have is hope.

When our spiritual gifts are based in purity, they become easier to share, to cultivate in others and to develop and the one thing that I know and understand well is hope. It is the greatest gift that has ever been bestowed upon me. I have received hope and I have shared hope. I pray that I am blessed to cultivate it in others to make a difference.

And so my confirmation is a milestone - not an end, a new beginning.

I will share my confirmation with someone who ignited my hope at one of the darkest times of my life.Someone who herself despite being an Anglican priest has needed hope and needed to resource her hope from her faith. My friend Michelle Bailey.

She has become a very close friend. A non judgmental caring follower of the faith.

It is the gift of hope that has kept the fire of faith burning within.

I am grateful for hope, because hope in Christ has transformed my life.