27 Aug 2021 • Articles
September 21st is the day on which the Church celebrates St. Matthew, the apostle and evangelist who was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.At the end of his Gospel, Matthew wrote that Jesus said, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."
"We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. "Parents and godparents make this declaration of their faith and their reliance on God when they bring children to be baptised, and teenagers and adults give the same assurance if they come to baptism in more mature years and when they are confirmed.
Baptism is once and for always - when a person is baptised, whatever their age, God's Holy Spirit comes to them for the whole of their life, bringing an abundant store of grace and strength. No one ever needs to be baptised a second time.The other name for baptism - christening - shows us that this is how we become Christians, children of God the Father and followers of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Christian parents usually want their children to be baptised when they are babies, so that they become members of the Christian family as soon as possible after they are born. Godparents promise to help the parents bring their children up knowing and caring about God, so parents rightly put a lot of thought into choosing godparents who read the Bible, go to church and really do believe and trust in God.
As people grow up, the Church of England invites them to strengthen their faith and their commitment to God through being confirmed. Confirmation 'candidates' usually come to a series of discussion and learning sessions about God, the Bible, the Church, the world and how these relate to us as God's children - so it does not matter how much or how little you know in advance, and there are no tests or exams.
A Confirmation Service is always a joyful event. All the regular congregation of the local church are invited to attend, and the families and godparents of the people being confirmed usually try to be there, too. The candidates stand together and declare their faith in God, then they kneel in front of the altar and the Bishop places his hands on the head of each person, saying their name and the words, "Confirm, O Lord, your servant with your Holy Spirit." Then these newly confirmed people receive their first Holy Communion, sharing in the Eucharist of the Church.
May the faith of the first disciples be your faith, too,