On the chilly morning of February 3, 2019, Bishop Jane Alexander and the Rev. Susan Oliver, rector, welcomed the Christ Church, Edmonton 10 am congregation to the Sacrament of Confirmation on the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas).
This feast is a “gift,” and a “poke in the side every February,” said Bishop Jane in her homily. “God reminds us that we are personally responsible for being called to newness.” As we think about how this year will be for us spiritually, physically and emotionally, “This feast bursts in,” as if to say, ‘how’s it going one month in?’ and reminds us to “keep at it.”
Gathering the children around her at the front of the church, Bishop Jane held up a package of hot chocolate mix and asked if they enjoyed drinking hot chocolate. Not surprisingly, many answered with an enthusiastic ‘yes!’ “What if I told you this hot chocolate is ‘bacon-flavoured?” she asked.
Leading the children to a stained glass window, featuring the Presentation of Jesus to the prophet Simeon and Anna, Bishop Jane told them that God is full of surprises. Simeon waited a very long time in expectation of receiving the King, and it must have been a great surprise to see the Messiah in the eyes of a wee babe.
“The salvation of God didn’t arrive in jewels and riches riding on the back of a magnificent horse and in procession, but was carried in in the arms of a young woman and seen in the innocence of a baby,” Bishop Jane said in her homily.
“Imagine the baby Jesus and the old man Simeon, the old lady Anna, and the young Mary all looking at each other and this kind of glorious collapsing of the past, present and future; of tradition and innovation; all a glorious theological explosion,” she said. “Something of that is seen here in church this morning. Confirmation candidates, their parents and sponsors walking freely into their adult faith with all the hope, promise and, yes, accountability that comes with it.”
The congregation rejoiced as Bishop Jane called forth Asiah Goetze, Christian Chinnery Jan Vrem, Raine Chinnery Jan Vrem, Nathan Stephens and Reuben Woudstra to affirm their baptism through the sacrament of confirmation.