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Death in the old and life in the new

News St Martin – Talking Points

Sunday 2 June 2013

Once again the time for Confirmation has come and it needs some explanation.

Both the older and younger members of the congregation find it hard to understand.  The elderly people didn’t know why but the younger ones all thought that the Holy Spirit had already anointed them in their Baptism.   

Today many Christians think that Confirmation is a rite that happens at the baptism of a baby.  If we remember when Jesus Christ had his baptism from John the Baptist, there were two elements that happened: the Baptism in the Jordan and the descent of the Holy Spirit.  

When the disciples of Christ, in the earliest days of Christianity created the initiation rites it was not a simple and differentiated process, but rather contained two elements, Baptism in water followed by the laying on of hands.  The meanings of this rite include two aspects: the “negative” aspect of death to the past and to the old “Adam” and the “positive” aspect of the gift of new life in the Spirit.

At Confirmation, the Bishop lays his hands on us in order to pray that the refreshing Spirit will assist and enable us in all our Christian living and worshipping.  At Confirmation, we confirm our commitment to God in Christ, stepping up to mark and publicly declare that we want to be known as disciples of Jesus Christ.  

We pray for all those being confirmed today.

Revd Paul Lau