Posted on: Wednesday 6 February 2019
Posted in: Anglican Faith Connections
In the Christian Church there are seven sacramental acts: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Holy Matrimony, Private Confession, Ordination and Extreme Unction. A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace as the Catechism maintains. They are ordinary acts that are made extraordinary by the presence of God. Thus, in marriage when a couple pledge their lives to each other they are doing so not only in the presence of witnesses but in the presence of God. They wish is to have God’s blessing and grace on their marriage.
Each sacrament also has a symbol or symbols which convey the mystical nature of the sacrament. In Baptism the symbol is water which stands for the new spiritual life that a person begins at their baptism. In Holy Communion, the symbols are bread and wine which stand for, and through a believer’s faith are, the Body and Blood of Christ. The sacraments differ in nature as some are once only rites of passage while others are more of an ongoing nature.
An example of the first type is Baptism, while an example of the second is Private Confession. Moreover, of these seven sacramental acts, two are clearly commanded by Jesus and known as the Canonical Sacraments as they are the only ones directly referred to in the canon of scripture. These are Baptism and Holy Communion. These sacramental acts are offered to our students throughout the year, but also at important times of the year such as Easter and St Hilda’s Day when a whole school Eucharist is celebrated. Also, girls in Year 3 are given the opportunity to make their First Communion after a period of preparation by their RE teachers. But for many years, we have not held a Confirmation Service in the Senior School.
Confirmation is the time when a person confirms the commitment to the Christian Faith that was made on their behalf by their parents and Godparents when they were baptised as infants. It is also the occasion when others who have come to faith after their infancy can make a public declaration of their faith and be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to live out their lives as Christians. This year I hope to hold a Confirmation Service so would be keen to hear from anyone who would like to be confirmed in our School Chapel.
Fr Patrick Duckworth