Today, our daughter Anne, was confirmed at All Saints Episcopal Church in Winter Park where we’ve attended for twenty three years. Standing behind with hands on her stood her godparents and parents as Bishop John Howe laid hands on her. In the Episcopal tradition, babies are baptized and received into God’s kingdom in this sacrament. Godparents commit to help rear the child in God’s way until the child can make a mature commitment to Christ and seeks to receive the Holy Spirit. So to have her godparents stand there brings both a closure of sorts for them, but a beginning for Anne.
Here is what the bishop says as he laid hands on Anne: Strengthen, O Lord, your servant Anne with your Holy Spirit;
empower her for your service; and sustain her all the days of her
He makes the sign of the cross upon her forehead (as was done in her baptism) both recalling her baptism and affirming her decision to step into her ministry and calling in maturity.
As I step back and think what has taken place in the spiritual realm… it takes my breath away!
If you want to hear BIshop Howe’s sermon this day, here you go. He talks about the completion of faith through Jesus. It is a provocative and compelling sermon. He is a great preacher.
One of the really cool things about the "Laying on of Hands" by the bishop is the tradition of "apostolic succession." This is an unbroken lineage of the laying on of hands by bishops tracing all the way back to Jesus’ Apostles. I think of it as the children’s game "Electricity" where I touch you, then you touch someone, and she touches someone else, and so forth. So Anne was confirmed by a man who has the "electricity" of Jesus. Now that’s energy!