The route between my house and St. Paul’s is very familiar. I have driven it many times a week for almost 14 years. I know it so well that, every once in a while, I’ll be thinking about something else and realize I’ve just driven a mile or so on Glen Flora, but have no conscious recollection of it.
Familiarity can do that to a person. It can cause us to “go through the motions” without really thinking about what we’re doing…or saying…or feeling. That is partly why we have taken such an in-depth look at the more familiar aspects of our Christian faith this year. We’ve thought again about what it means to be guided by the Ten Commandments, to pray the Lord’s Prayer, to confess the Apostle’s Creed, and to celebrate the sacraments.
Along the way, we’ve managed to find something fresh and meaningful in these old, familiar words of faith. A few people have found it so meaningful they have decided to stand before you…some of them again…some for the first time…and confirm the faith these familiar words express.
Before they stand before you, I have one more familiar piece of Christendom to unpack. I have one more familiar part of Scripture to let live and breathe and speak something new. It’s as familiar to me as the route between my house and St. Paul’s. It’s probably an old friend of yours, as well. But there’s a message in the 23rd Psalm that I hope and pray today’s confirmands…and all of you…will hear as if for the first time.
Let’s see, then, what happens during today’s familiar worship. As we experience our confirmands’ expression of faith, celebrate God’s holy wind (on this day of Pentecost), and hear a few well-known words of Holy Scripture, let’s see if you find yourself unexpectedly “caught” in God’s goodness and mercy.