by Pam Shea
Back in the 1960s I attended the confirmation program at my church, Cross of Glory. My Pastor, Carl Groettum, was a serious teacher of the Bible who in his gentle voice and unhurried sermons deeply affected my belief in God.
At the end of our two years of study, we were presented to the congregation for Confirmation. This involved two Sundays. The first was when each confirmand was asked in front of the entire congregation a question. Each confirmand was assigned a question to practice, however not told if this would indeed be the one when the time came. Some answers were short and some long. Yikes, I still remember my question with the three-part answer!
“What benefits does God give in Baptism?”
In Baptism God forgives sin, delivers from death and the devil, and gives everlasting salvation to all who believe what he has promised.” I nailed the first two parts, and barely squeaked out the final part.
On the second Sunday each confirmand was invited to the Communion Table for the first time. I was worried that I wouldn’t know how to take communion without messing it up. I did just fine and can still remember my unexpected feelings of joy and energy after receiving forgiveness of my sins. You see, I believed in God’s promise to me, made at my Baptism, that He will forgive my sins. That day I accepted this gift of pure grace at His Table and glimpsed the freedom of a Christian which Martin Luther wrote about.
More than fifty years later when I consider the words “a promise made is a promise kept” I know it is true that God forgives, delivers and gives life everlasting, not because of a memorized answer but from a life lived and sustained by the love of God.
During Lent 2011, we are encouraging the St. Philip the Deacon community to reflect on the Sacrament of Holy Communion — recalling early memories, describing memorable celebrations of Communion, or reflecting on how Communion informs daily life. This post is part of that series. We invite your reflections about Communion, as well. If you would like to submit something for this series, please send it to Pastor Cheryl Mathison at firstname.lastname@example.org.