“Remember your baptism!” Droplets splatter my face, and a strong scent of rosemary fills the air as the grinning bishop flicks water at us.
This was not part of the confirmation service I was expecting. Members of the Ely Cathedral congregation were urged with a splash to recall their original commitment to Christ. It’s a tricky task for most, being asked to bring to mind a service in which they took part as infants. To make it easier, we were reminded of the promises made by our godparents.
Thing is, I haven’t got any godparents. And, I can remember my baptism with clarity:
“Zachariah, I now baptise you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Buried…”
The rest was washed out by the inrush of chilly water, and the sensation of being submerged backwards by a big, kind-hearted man who’s grin was remarkably like that of the rosemary-brandishing bishop. But I knew the rest of the words by heart:
“… in likeness of His death. Raised again to walk in the newness of life.”
As I re-lived my baptism, I was taking part in a service of confirmation, alongside two friends with whom I’ve shared several months of lessons. My plans to be confirmed as an Anglican have been a conversation-starter:
“Wait, weren’t you confirmed already?”
Well, sort of. I was raised in the Baptist tradition of Christianity, but the teaching of both are remarkably similar. The Church of England teaches that confirmation is an adult decision to commit your life to Christ. The Baptists say the same, but with more water, and tie confirmation and baptism together into one almighty dunking.
I see my recent confirmation as a reaffirmation of my decision to follow Christ. My baptism means no less to me, though I was only eight. Being anointed with oil in a cathedral is a chapter from my story with the church as I am now – at very nearly 30.
Written for the news magazine of All Saints Church, Cottenham. Reposted with kind permission.
Top image credit: © 2014, Monique Ingalls, all rights reserved. Used with kind permission
Image of wooden cross: © 2014, Zach Beauvais, some rights reserved: CC BY-SA