JOINED TO CHRIST.
CONFIRMATION OF THIRTY-EIGHT CHILDREN AT FIRST
AN EDIFYING CEREMONY, WITNESSED BY A CONGREGATION
THAT TAXED THE CAPACITY OF THE EDIFICE,
REV. L.A. JOHNSTON OFFICIATES,
And Preaches an Appropriate Sermon to the Newly Confirmed.
A class of thirty-eight boys and girls received the sacrament yesterday morning at the annual confirmation exercises of the First Swedish Lutheran Evangelical church, corner of Woodward avenue and John street. The congregation, one of the largest in the city, was joined by many strangers, and every pew and every aisle was filled. Nearly 2,000 persons were present. The church was decorated with palms, potted plants and cut flowers. The choir of twenty was led by Prof. Wold, while Peter Johnson presided at the organ. The candidates for confirmation included 16 boys and 22 girls, all "about fourteen or fifteen years of age. The boys were attired in black, and the girls wore pretty gowns of delicate white fabrics, with corsage bouquets. The class sat in a circle about the pulpit. The services that followed were conducted in Swedish. After a hymn by the entire congregation the pastor, Rev. L.A. Johnston, read the twenty-sixth chapter of the Song of Solomon, beginning, "Judge me, O Lord, for I have walked in mine integrity."
The confirmation class next rose to their feet and replied in unison to the pastor's questions upon the Lutheran catechism. Their answers came readily, for during the past six months they have been receiving weekly instruction in the catechism and collateral Bible history. Before any child can be confirmed in the Lutheran church he must be able to both read and write. Thus it is that so few Scandinavian immigrants to America are ever found illiterate. Six of the thirty-eight children examined yesterday, although Swedish, had become such good Americans that they were not proficient in their fathers' tongue. They gave their answers in English, and were examined individually.
A hymn was sung by the choir. Still standing, the class was next confirmed. They were asked if they understood the nature of the renouncement that they must make, and of the burdens they must assume. They were agreed to take up the duties of the true Christian. They knelt and the pastor prayed for and with them. Then he led the congregation in a prayer for the children, that the latter might be sustained in the sacrifice that they had taken upon themselves. While all remained upon their knees the pastor stretched forth his hands and invoked the benediction, saying:, "Herren walsigne eder. och beware eder: Herren upplyfe sitt ansigte ofwer eder, och ware eder nadig: Herren wande sitt ansigte till eder, och gifwe eder en ewig frid, i Guds, Fadrens och Sonons och helige Andes, namen. Amen." — "The Lord bless thee and keep thee.The Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."
Each member of the class was hereupon presented with a copy of the Bible and with a book of holy reading. The latter was a present from the pastor, and its contents were of a nature peculiarly suited to the situation of one newly confirmed. Following a hymn sung by the whole congregation, the pastor delivered a brief sermon upon the text from Matthew XI, 28, 29: "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest: take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
Mr. Johnston spoke of the importance of the time spent in the confirmation school; and then, dividing his text into three divisions, based upon the words, "come," "take" and "find," he continued: I "Consider the word 'come.' There are three ways by which you can come to Christ. First, there is the Word of God, which points out the path. Second, there is selfexamination. Peering down into our souls, we can detect the impediments to a perfect communion with the Savior.
Once discovered, they may be removed by conscientious and continued effort. Third, there is the path of humble prayer. What one cannot do by his own unaided efforts, he can usually accomplish with the aid of the Father. "Consider the word 'take.' You should take Christ as your teacher, as your Savior, and as your King. Take the yoke of His doctrine, the yoke of obedience, and the yoke of confession. To take the yoke of Christ is to cast away the yoke of pride, of penuriousness, of worldliness. You will find that it will cost you something to take up the yoke of Christ, but it will cost still more to take up the yoke of sin.
"And what as to 'find?' You will find peace for your souls. How great is this promise, and how infinite its blessing! The cares of business, of domestic life, the sorrow and pain of illness, and the heart-breaks of bereavement—these, all these are to be softened and obliterated, for to your souls. Is promised peace, and that, by the Prince of Peace, the Savior, the Comforter!"
The confirmation class sang a beautiful song setting forth the safety of the refuge that they had just found within the church. Then, as they kneeled in a circle about him, they received from the pastor their first sacrament. He placed in the mouth of each the consecrated wafer, and, returning, he gave to each the sacred wine to drink.
There was a hymn sung by the congregation, and thirty-eight more souls g had been joined to the body of Christ's church.
The children confirmed were: Elizabeth Noren, Ruth Peterson, Tilda Anderson, Mary Anderson, Gerda Person, Elsa Johnson, Hulda Johnson,. Agnes Ekvall, Vina Swenson, Hannah Foungquist, Carrie Olson, Emma Moberg, Hilma Gustafson, Selena Person, Ida Schoberg, Thora Johnson, Paulina Person, Hulda Carlson, Mary Nelson, Anna Anderson, Ellen Vallin, Esther Hammargren, Andrew Ahlberg, Gottfred Peterson, Carl Ekstrand, Edward Carlson, Carl Carlson, Gustaf Carlson, Algol Anderson, Carl Johnson, Herman Palmquist, Victor Thorsell, Axel Ekvall, Elmer Anderson, Ferdinand Rydholm, John Johnson, Fred Vallin, Charley Hanson.
From the Saint Paul Daily Globe,
Minnesota, USA, June 3, 1895, pg.2.
Edited by Elof Granholm April 11, 2014