Every summer, our Facebook pages feature photos of smiling graduates and happy confirmands. They made it! They’re done! They’re free! Well, those of us who’ve been around the block a few times know that graduation isn’t the destination, but only the beginning – that’s why they call it commencement. But what about confirmation? Doesn’t that mean we’re done? Doesn’t that mean we know everything we need to know about being disciples? Well, no.
Just like commencement, confirmation marks the beginning of a journey. It means we’ve got the basics, and now it’s time to start living into the promises we made (or that were made for us) at our baptism and affirmed at our confirmation. We promised to live among God’s faithful people, hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s Supper, proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, serve all people following the example of Jesus, and strive for justice and peace in all the earth. Big promises, right? How can we possibly live up to them?
Well, we also asked God to help us and guide us as we grow into discipleship, and God is always faithful. Women of the ELCA has given us seven marks of discipleship, seven clear directions for living into our baptismal covenant: praying, studying, worshiping, inviting, encouraging, serving, and giving. They are a wonderful way to help us keep on the right path as we continue to grow as disciples. (Download the free resource: Lessons for Today’s Disciples.) How do we live these promises, these seven marks of discipleship, in our lives today?
Have we grown in them since we were baptized and confirmed? Have we kept growing? How can we live into discipleship ever more deeply and generously? Let us pray: Ever-faithful God, you help us and guide us as we continue to grow into our baptismal covenant. Strengthen us in our lives as disciples who pray, study, worship, invite, encourage, serve, and give, all to the glory of your name. This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.