Yep, we do it the old fashioned way. Why? Because confirmation isn’t something that you go through and you’re done; it’s not graduation from church. Rather, confirmation is a short time of preparation followed by a lifetime of fulfillment.
And that’s where you come in. As a parent or sponsor of a baptized child, you will be asked to work with your student as they commit to memory certain tools of faith.
Interestingly, this is a calling you’ve already signed up for. During the baptism of your child, you took specific vows as you brought your child forward to receive the gift of baptism. Amidst those baptismal vows, you were entrusted with the following responsibilities: to live with your child among God’s faithful people; bring them to the word of God and the Holy Supper; to teach them the Lord’s Prayer, the Creeds, and the Ten Commandments; to place in their hands the Holy Scriptures, and to nurture them in faith and prayer, so that they may learn to trust God, proclaim Christ through word and deed, care for others and the world God made, and work for justice and peace. And when asked if you promise to fulfill these vows before God and those assembled, you declared,
Once in confirmation, your child will begin a particular kind of preparation so that they can make an informed claim upon their own faith during the Rite of Confirmation. As a community of faith, it is our responsibility to support both parent and child by making available the necessary tools and guidance needed during this time of preparation.
To this end, rather than spending a major portion of our time in confirmation memorizing these elements, we would like to have the students already familiar with them. This way when we gather together, we spend our time exploring the deeper meaning behind them.
This isn’t memory work for the sake of memorizing, but rather this is memory work as a foundation onto which understanding can be built—that and it’s a biblical command. But don’t take our word for it; let’s hear what Luther had to say on the matter:
“[If my words are] not sufficient to admonish us to read the Catechism daily, yet we should feel sufficiently constrained by the command of God alone, who solemnly enjoins in Deuteronomy 6:6ff that we should always meditate upon His precepts, sitting, walking, standing, lying down, and rising, and have them before our eyes and in our hands as a constant mark and sign. Doubtless He did not so solemnly require and enjoin this without a purpose; but because He knows our danger and need, as well as the constant and furious assaults and temptations of devils, He wishes to warn, equip, and preserve us against them, as with a good armor against their fiery darts and with good medicine against their evil infection and suggestion.
Oh, what mad, senseless fools are we that, while we must ever live and dwell among such mighty enemies as the devils are, we nevertheless despise our weapons and defense, and are too lazy to look at or think of them!”