Tis the season of Confirmation, which likely sparks memories for a lot of people who have been confirmed themselves.
As I sat through confirmation this past Sunday, I was reminded of how many details I’ve forgotten about my own big day. I remember the examination, and later standing in a line after confirmation, shaking hands with people in the congregation. But the rite itself? The sermon? The cake? The gifts?
Very fuzzy there. (Sorry, Mom. I’m sure the party was amazing.)
One thing I do remember, though: my confirmation verse, Romans 1:16.
I heard that passage again this Sunday, as it was the chosen verse for a confirmand named Chris: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”
Or in the King James Version lodged in my memory: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”
When my daughter Ingrid heard the verse in church, she leaned over and said, “That’s your passage.”
Funny she knows that. The verse isn’t displayed anywhere in our house—I don’t even think I have a record of it—but I suppose I’ve mentioned it a time or two, maybe when Ingrid was going through confirmation. Whatever the case, it’s been a favorite since it was chosen for me.
But I’ve always been curious: why that verse?
The assignment could have been random, I suppose. If you look at lists of confirmation verses, all of the passages seem like they would be fitting for pretty much everyone.
I ran this question by my husband, since he was recently in “verse-choosing” mode with our newest confirmands. He said they have lists of suggested verses on file, but he tries to find passages that are particularly fitting for individual confirmands.
“In your case,” he said, “your pastor might have given you Romans 1:16 because you were leaving Immanuel and going to a public high school.”
Ah. Makes sense.
At the end of the day, the reason probably doesn’t matter much. What’s important is the passage itself, and what it’s meant to bring to mind.
That comes through clearly when you read a comment like this one from Nancy Schneider, who identified her favorite Bible passage in an old issue of Forward in Christ (September 2002). Her favorite passage: Isaiah 43:1—Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine.
This was my confirmation verse back in 1957. I’m sure the Holy Spirit was guiding my pastor when he chose this verse for me because I have relied on it so many times over the years.
I’d say the same for Romans 1:16.
ART: Konfirmationsschein der Kirchgemeinde Leipzig-Kleinzschocher, 1924 (Confirmation certificate from the Congregation at Leipzig-Kleinzschoch by Stegruen (from the private collection of Stegruen). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons