Bishop Christopher reminded us that in the Bible, showers are a sign of blessing. I thought of the lines from George Matheson's hymn,
'I trace the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.'
Coincidentally, the hymn tune is called St Margaret, which happens to be the dedication of Whitnash Church.
The Old Testament reading was Isaiah 43.1-7 and the Bishop took from it the theme of our creation and calling by God. This was linked to the Gospel reading (Mark 1.9-15) in which Jesus is identified as the beloved Son, and then driven out into a sometimes hostile world to live out his vocation. We were reminded of our creation as beloved children of God, and our calling to his service through Jesus Christ.
Eleanor and the other two candidates were taken to the Font, where water was blessed and sprinkled liberally over them. It was a reminder of their Baptism - and indeed of our own. Then came the lovely prayer for the seven-fold gifts of the Spirit:
'...Let your Holy Spirit rest upon them;
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding;
the Spirit of counsel and inward strength;
the Spirit of knowledge and true godliness;
and let their delight be in the fear of the Lord.'
This led into the Confirmation itself, a particularly personal moment as there were so few candidates on this occasion. And so the service proceeded, as we shared the Peace, shared bread and wine, and afterwards shared refreshments and stories.
Driving home, the sky was clear; the moon was sharp and almost full, lighting up the evening. The words of the Bishop still resonated:
'God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and has given us a place with the saints in light.
You have received the Light of Christ. Walk in this light all the days of your life.'
Will they? Will we?
Postscript: we'll present Eleanor with her Certificate of Confirmation and pray for her again at our Patronal Festival Eucharist on All Saints' Sunday, 3rd November at 10.30am.