i make you a promise (on being confirmed)

Tomorrow is the making of promises. 

The candidates stand before the Bishop, and he says:

 You stand in the presence of God and his Church; with your own mouth and from your own heart you must declare your allegiance to Christ and your rejection of all that is evil. Therefore I ask these questions:

I’m getting confirmed tomorrow.

That means promises. That’s what confirmation is, this promise-making moment, myself in front of the Bishop and the Church and in the presence of Christ, and the words will flow and my knees will knock together and I’m one hundred percent sure I’ll almost trip somewhere in the service.

But I’m getting confirmed tomorrow.

Therefore I ask these questions:

Do you turn to Christ? I turn to Christ.

Do you repent of all your sins? I repent of all my sins.

Do you renounce Satan, his works and all the evil powers of this world? I renounce them all.

 Do you renounce the desires of your sinful nature and all forms of idolatry? I renounce them all.

It isn’t the same as when I first felt God move. It isn’t the moment when I fell head over heels in love with Him in Italy looking at Fra Angelico’s fresco and realizing that God loves art and music and beauty enough to let us make it. It’s not that sweetness of prayer with a friend in a parking lot. It is me, out on a limb of  a promise to God. A promise that I see Him, His Cross, His story. A promise that I will stand up from the middle of the pigsty and come home to Him. A promise to name evil as evil, and not hide behind anything that’s “cultural” or “philosophical” or “complicated.”

I now call upon you to declare before God and his Church that you accept the Christian faith into which you were baptized, and in which you live, grow and serve.

Do you believe and trust in God the Father, who made this world? believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in his Son Jesus Christ who redeemed humankind? I believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in his Holy Spirit who gives life to the people of God? I believe and trust in him.

Tomorrow I will make a promise to trust. Tomorrow I will make a promise to believe, a promise that I do believe, to live and grow and serve out this one life as a long obedience and a wild journey and a joyful acceptance of grace.

I make you a promise tomorrow, Jesus, that all I am and have and hope for, all of it, belongs to You. I make you a promise tomorrow, Jesus, in the better silence after my words, that I am bound up in You, and all is grace, and all is love.

Tomorrow I make a promise to love the Truth. To belong to Him. 

Love,
hilary

3 thoughts on “i make you a promise (on being confirmed)

  1. You didn’t trip. You stood tall, and kneeled humbly, and yes, I could see the holy, grateful tears.
    It was one of the most beautiful services I have been to in a long time. So very holy. So very awe-filled, listening to all those voices making those promises, adding my own voice to the congregation’s response. Yes. Yes, we will uphold you, encourage you, mourn with you, rejoice with you, live with you.
    It was such a blessing to be there.

  2. Oh, so much grace to you in this new promise. This is holy ground. (And as someone who let her wedding band roll right down the long white dress, down the aisle with laughter filling that church – let me tell you, even if you trip, grace will mark that moment.)

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