When a child is adopted, he gets a new family and also a new story, the family’s story, with its history, and hardships, and heroes.
You who are baptized learn the story, your story. It’s the story of all mankind. But the unbaptized, and those who have wandered away from their baptism, have forgotten the story, the family history. Some have even developed competing stories, a falsified account. It is as though they came upon a beautiful mosaic, depicting with glittering tiles the image of a king. With malice they rearrange those tiles into the image of a fox.
So we rehearse the story, for ourselves, but also for Mackenzi, Kathryn, Kyle, John and Christina. For tonight is about much more than joining a congregation. It’s much more than becoming part of the great Evangelical Catholic confession handed down through the Reformation movement Luther championed.
Our story doesn’t start in 1870, when this congregation was formed. Our story doesn’t start in 1530, when the Augsburg Confession was delivered to the Holy Roman Emperor. Our story goes back beyond Anselm, beyond Aquinas, beyond Augustine, beyond Athanasius, to Adam himself.
Adam is the father of the human race. He is our father. He fell, and the world kept falling – into madness, and murder. In righteousness God judged the world, cleansing it with water.
The great flood brought the human family again down to eight – Noah, his wife, their three sons and wives. As the generations rose and fell, men again became increasingly evil. Abraham’s children were enslaved by an Egyptian pharaoh. He murdered their little boys by drowning. One little boy was drawn up from those waters, and eventually God cause this boy, Moses, to lead the people across other waters, the Red Sea.
They told and retold the story from the first father: A woman would bear a son, and He would trample down death by death.
Many forgot the story. They formed a cult worshiping death. They killed their own offspring. They waged endless wars. They forgot their father, their story, their history. And forgetting their history, they lost their hope.
But finally this Son came, born to a virgin named Mary. He began to restore creation. He gave sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf. He healed the diseased, and raised the dead.
The world’s true King had come, but the world had forgotten what his image looked like. So long had they gazed upon the mosaic of the fox, they did not know it was a corruption, a distortion, a lie.
So the kings of the world gathered together and slew their King. But God works all things for good. This death of the One righteous man undid the fall of the first father. Death had undone every man who lived. But the murder of this King could not prevail. He rose, and He remains risen.
He is alive. He is your true King. This is your story. This is your history. And it is also your future.
So Mackenzi, Kathryn, Kyle, John and Christina, you have not just joined a congregation this night. You have affirmed that that story is your story, that this King is your King.
Tonight you share in a meal which is more than a fellowship among ourselves. It is communion with this King Himself. In Him is life, and that life He shares with you.
Adam’s death is our history. Jesus’ death is our death. His resurrection is our future. This is what we mean when we say, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! +INJ+