Of Brothers and Sisters
And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.”
But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Luke 18:20, 21
Properly speaking, I belong to two Orders. The first one happened on the 1st of May 1976 when I became a Christian. The second one happened much later when I was ordained as a deacon in the Anglican Church. The thing about “families and orders” are that they both have a stable and permanent ring to it.
These are orders one should never quit from. It is a lifelong pledge and reflects a deep sense of belonging, where one's identity and calling is wrapped up in.
In a sense, 66 confirmands joined the order of God’s family last Saturday. I can say that they have “become Anglicans”: valid not just in our diocese, but worldwide. Indeed, we welcome them warmly into the Cathedral family.
Rootedness, especially in this day and age is important. Confirmation is our traditional Anglican way of strengthening the faith of a teenager who was baptised as an infant. There will be a teaching and preparation course ("catechism”), as the teenager comes of age. Currently, the age which our Diocese has set is 14. For those who converted and were baptised as adults, it becomes a way of admittance into the Church membership.
I should add that Confirmation was normally ministered immediately after baptism and one can see the spiritual significance of the Bishop laying his hand, impart the Spirit and accepting a baptised person into the Church. This sacramental aspect of Confirmation (as a part of baptism) is somewhat lost in these days where due to practicalities, both rites are administered separately.
In the Confirmation Course, we introduce some distinctives of the Anglican Church. We are starting an Anglicanism track under our Christian Education department in 2020. The areas which will be taught over a few courses will include our Biblical beliefs/doctrines, the history of our Church and Worship and Liturgy. This will be a good way to explore further the introductory ideas taught at Confirmation and is properly speaking, our continuing Catechism track.
Apart from rooting one's faith and appreciation of His Church, it is also about being aware of the rich diversity in the Anglican Church worldwide. In fact, a good Anglican Course will even lead one to appreciate the grace gifts in other parts of the Body of Christ.
All said, the words of Jesus in Luke 18:20-21 can lead us into a deeper sense of being brothers and sisters. When we hear His Word and obey, such as forgiveness, love, humility and so on, we experience a rich fellowship in Christ. This order is more than just a permanent status, it can be a deepening experience. This is one reason why you may feel a deeper sense of kinship with a practising Christian regardless of his or her denomination affiliation.
Indeed as we are reminded in our liturgy, when we walk in the light, we will have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7).