Vocabulary —Confirmation

At Mount Olive Lutheran Church we offer classes for children in middle school that lead up to their being confirmed into membership in our congregation.

On Confirmation Sunday we hold a special ceremony. 

Rite of Confirmation

CONFIRMATION:  A brief explanation of the

symbolism connected with the Lutheran Rite of Confirmation.

THE PROCESSION – Every confirmand should realize that his walking down the aisle at the beginning of the service is a symbol. It is not an ordinary walking into an ordinary building. The properly trained confirmand indicates this by the way he walks; with measured step, serious face, and solemn heart. It is an entrance into God’s house and approach to God’s altar; a coming into God’s infinitely holy presence.

A long row of simple green and yellow flowers.

THE FLOWERS NEAR THE HEART – There is an importance connected with the flowers which the confirmand wears near the heart. The Bible speaks of Jesus Christ as a flower. For example, in one passage (The Song of Solomon 2:1) Christ says of Himself: “I am a rose of Sharon, a Lily of the valleys.” Those flowers, then, represent Christ. And the fact that they lie close to the confirmands’ heart is indicative of the truth that He dwells, invisibly but actually, in their hearts by FAITH.

THE WHITE ROBE – The white robe is a symbol of the Christian’s holiness and sinless-ness in the sight of his Creator. Every Lutheran confirmed knows that such sinless-ness is not a matter of his own doing. He knows, from personal experience as well as his own doing, he could not make himself right before God… but by God’s grace he has learned that Christ took our sins in His own body on the cross; “That He was wounded for our transgression, He was bruised for our iniquities.” He believes “That the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.” So he can look at his white robe, and conscious of its spiritual significance, he can pray confidently:

Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress
Wherein before my God I’ll stand
When I shall reach the heavenly land.”

THE BENDED KNEE – When the confirmand kneels in the presence of God, he is thereby saying before all the world that God is above him and that he is beneath God and that His commandments are for him the principles by which he wishes to regulate his life.

THE HAND CLASP – (The Promise) Such loyalty to Christ, both in what a person believes and in the way he lives, must be a CONSTANT loyalty, even until death. Granted that the individual is a Christian at the time of his Confirmation; that is good. But it is not good enough; he must REMAIN a Christian until the end. Only “he that endures to the end shall be saved.” And that is what the handclasp symbolizes, which the Confirmand gives in the presence of the assembled congregation. It is a pledge of his promise that he renounces the devil and all his works and all his ways; that he will cling to the doctrines of the Bible, that he REMAIN true to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church, and that he will LIVE in harmony with the Gospel of Christ all the days of his life. It’s not a promise that is taken lightly. Jesus is the WAY, but for us to stay in the WAY takes effort and struggles. It means carefully and faithfully studying God’s Word. It means communing with Him often in the Lord’s Supper. It takes all of that to keep following Him. Otherwise, we turn off and die without God and without hope and without heaven. The right road is HIS.

THE LAYING ON OF HANDS – (The Blessing) The Pastor lays his hand upon each Confirmand’s head and solemnly blesses him. Thereafter, he proclaims a short passage from the Scriptures, which is designed to guide the individual Christian through the future. Thus, the confirmed is graced with both a general and special BLESSING, pronounced by his Pastor in the name of the Church and his Lord.

THE REVERENT RECESSION – Is it not symbolic that at the end of the Confirmation service the Confirmand should now “WALK OUT INTO THE WORLD” once more? Now they have been formally accepted into the communion of saints to take up their daily tasks, living their lives to the glory of God and the service of their fellowmen. The recession is also a symbol of their JOURNEY TOWARDS HEAVEN; “With the cross of Jesus going on before,” a symbol of their march towards Paradise, their everlasting home!