I found that the rituals I practice as a Methodist have helped me understand what it means to grow spiritually. Confirmation seals your faith in God, and completes your membership in the church. As a confirmed Methodist, I am expected to serve the church through attendance, service, and donations. My church begins Confirmation classes in eighth grade, but anyone older can join, and has a mentor program in the hopes that the student and the mentor will form a lasting bond.
My mentor’s name was Byron Ricketts. He was about 50, so I called him “oldie.” He was always cheerful, and pushed me to try my hardest. As a result, I was inducted into the Order of the Arrow, the National Honors Society of Scouting. He encouraged me to seal my membership by becoming a Brotherhood member.
Byron was hilarious. I remember one time we were required to attend a service of another religion or denomination; we chose to go to a Jews for Jesus service. The service itself was over two hours long. At one point the whole congregation made a giant conga line and started dancing. They pulled people from their chairs to join. Byron quickly moved closer to me — he almost knocked me over to avoid getting grabbed and forced to dance around!
Byron and I always find time to tease each other, and occasionally we’ll talk about deeper things — such as how faith can us help through anything. He is one of the reasons why I’m still here, and why I didn’t attempt suicide. Because of all we’ve been through, our bond will last forever.
The Confirmation process lasts one year and ends with a ceremony. My class had 20 kids and we met after the 9:20 church service to check on the progress of each student and their mentors. Class was helpful at times, but often some kids distracted those who were trying to take it seriously.
At the end, I was required to meet with one of the pastors to review what I had learned, what my own beliefs were, and how this process would affect my life in the church. The course taught me that belief in Jesus guaranteed entrance into heaven, no matter what. However, I do not believe this is true. I believe that living a good life and performing good deeds will get you into heaven, and that it is not up to people to decide who is worthy or not; it is up to God.
My pastor responded to this with, “Well, that’s a most… interesting take on it.”
We left it at that, and continued with our discussion. He then said I was part of a new family — a spiritual family, if you will. Confirmation most definitely changed my whole outlook on life.
After all the students had met the requirements, the Confirmation itself was set up and the class prepared. In my church, we go through the ceremony during one of the services we chose as a class, and from there we become members of the Methodist church. There aren’t fancy parties afterward; just the opportunity to talk to the congregation. With everyone welcoming and congratulating me, just seeming happy we all survived the process, it hit me that I was indeed part of something bigger than myself. At that moment, I knew I was not alone and that anyone in the whole church would be glad to help me. I see Confirmation as one of the best things that ever happened to me. When I completed my Confirmation, I realized I wasn’t alone; there were people everywhere to help me. I started looking on the bright side of life. Rather than dwelling on the negatives, I saw the positives right in front of me, waiting for me to notice them.
Now I feel more tolerant and patient, kind and loving. Confirmation helped pull me through one of the hardest years of my life: eighth grade. I realized others were going through the same thing and were there to help me. While I did hit some bumps here and there, I always kept my faith.
My spiritual family is here to guide and support me, even when no one else is. If you are hesitant about going through Confirmation, I recommend you do it. It will change your life forever. It changed mine for the better, and I hope it will do the same for you.
Sam Morrison is fourteen years old and a freshman at Friends Meeting School in Ijamsville, MD. He is in the Order of the Arrow, a national honor society in the Boy Scouts of America. In his spare time, Sam enjoys writing as well as playing video games and basketball.
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