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Rites of passage form an essential part of the rituals of life. Adolescence, movement from school to university, the birth and baptism of a child, marriage, a crisis in health, the death of a loved one are occasions on which the big questions of life surface. Clergy and key lay people must be open to enabling these occasions to be opportunities for exploration, commitment and a deepening of faith. Confirmation is one such ritual.
In confirmation, commitment to Christ is personally affirmed and the candidates are confirmed by the laying on of hands by a bishop with prayer for the strengthening of the Holy Spirit. Those confirmed are commissioned for mature discipleship and ministry to the world.
Confirmation should be viewed as an important and necessary part of Christian formation towards full discipleship, and is explained in A Prayer Book for Australia.
Christians should be willing to confess their faith publicly (Romans 10:9-13). Those baptised as infants need to profess for themselves the faith into which they have been baptised. The Anglican tradition provides for this in confirmation, in which a person affirms and renews those promises, and receives the strengthening of the Holy Spirit through Prayer and the laying on of the bishop’s hand.
( APBA p94)
The Christian understanding of marriage is the exclusive life-long union of a man and a woman in body, mind, and spirit.
Scripture points to God’s gift of marriage to humanity from the beginning of creation. Its purpose is to enrich the two who are called to share this covenant relationship, to provide a stable and secure setting for the procreation and gift of children, and to be the corner-stone of society for the responsible ordering of family life and for the well being of all. Marriage reflects sacramentally the union between Christ and the church, and the Church administers Holy Matrimony within its ministry of redemption, proclaiming the Lordship of Christ.
Human beings have sensed the mystery of death, and the pain of grief, since time immemorial. Every society has developed rites to mark the passage from life through death, and to commemorate the dead. A funeral service is a rite by which we acknowledge the wounds of grief, acknowledging loss, giving thanks, making a last farewell and becoming captives to hope. A Christian funeral must proclaim resurrection hope found in the death and resurrection of Jesus even as the community faces the cold reality of death (paraphrased APBApage 711). The funeral should provide an important and valuable ritual response through which relatives and friends can express their deep feelings of grief and loss. The funeral usually comes at so early a stage in the grief process that acceptance of death has not always been realised. The funeral should be designed to help the process. The sure and certain hope of the Resurrection must be the proper context for the celebration of the funeral, but its proclamation must not be made in such a way that it is an evasion of grief.
The Holy Communion also called the Eucharist and the Lord’s Supper symbolises the new covenant given by God to his followers. The old covenant was the one given by God to Israel when he freed his people from slavery in Egypt.
The new sacrament symbolises freedom from the slavery of sin and the promise of eternal life. According to the Synpotic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, the Eucharist was instituted by Jesus, who said the following:
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