I’ve been confirmed twice—first in the Christian Reformed Church when I was just shy of 13 (“Public Profession of Faith” is what we called it), and then again last May in the Episcopal Church. Both of these events are stories in themselves; today I’m concerned specifically with the abundance inherent in them.
In the middle of her book on middles (Still), Lauren Winner, an Episcopalian, writes about attending a confirmation service. While she’s fuzzy on the theology around present-day Episcopal confirmation services,* she writes, she likes the repetition of the bishop’s BCP prayer over the confirmands:
Defend, O Lord, your servant N. with your heavenly grace,
that he may continue yours for ever, and daily increase in
your Holy Spirit more and more, until he comes to your
everlasting kingdom. Amen.
It’s the “more and more” she likes, Winner writes—the redundancy of it, “repeated ten times, twenty times, like a spell.”
I also like the “more and more,” as a statement of spiritual abundance; a playful, extravagant, lavish verbalization of what can be. More and more and more and more. That’s what I can hope for. More and more and more and more. That’s what the bishop asked for me when she laid her hands heavily on my head in the darkened stone church that was a refuge for our small congregation on a stormy, windy Wednesday night.
Easter is a feast season, and this Easter feels abundant to me. I failed at my Lenten discipline(s) again this year, and I wasn’t sure how much of a difference Easter would make—I’m just as busy, tired, and frenetic as I was a couple of weeks ago. It has made a difference, though, the tangibles joy and the sweet alleluias, so fresh on my lips.
In fact, though, this sense of abundance is not limited to the Easter season. This whole year has been full of abundances. This has been a year of great change, a year of surprise, of plans changed—which at first felt unsettlingly like loss, but has turned out to be abundance beyond imagining. More and more and more and more. In the world of this abundance even the silences and shadows feel somehow fuller, and I am grateful.
Have you experienced abundance recently? How has it affected you? Is the Easter season one of abundance in your life?
*While writing this, I read a great “Brief Thought on Confirmation” by Derek Olsen on his blog, Haligweorc.