Genesis 2, 18-24 + Psalm 128 + Hebrews 13, 1-4, 5-6 + Mark 10, 6-9
John and Emily, you are giving to us a powerful witness of faith today with your journey down the aisle of this church. You have walked this aisle before. I have seen you here. You have walked down the aisles of many church from Kentucky to Ohio and other places as well. You walked it for your First Communion and for your Confirmation. There may well have been times when you went the other direction on the arm of a parent when you couldn’t sit still and make it to the end of Mass. Before that you came in the arms of a parent for your Baptism and the beginning of the mystery we celebrate today. When you came that day, something in you changed. Claimed by Christ our savior by the sign of the cross, anointed with the Chrism of Salvation, your life was headed toward Christ Jesus.
When you came down an aisle for your First Communion, something in you changed again, and the presence of that savior became more intimate and more real. When it was time for Confirmation and you stepped toward an altar, that savior’s presence was confirmed, affirmed, and claimed by the Church as the promised gift of the Holy Spirit was acknowledged and celebrated. You were different then, and the witness to your faith was unmistakable. Now you come again, a little closer and little further down the aisle, on the path of pilgrims who seek the Lord, renewing the covenant he has made with us in his flesh and blood, and walking deeper into the mystery of his presence among us again for you to be changed and reborn.
A few years ago I dropped into the First Grade class at the parish school where I was always certain I would learn something from those delightful children of God. Often God as a way of being revealed through children, and the simplicity of children often makes God presence and God’s Word unmistakable. All of the children in the room were drawing pictures of something they saw in the room. There was a fish, the window, a plant, a desk, all very recognizable. Then I noticed Sara very intent on something I could not quite recognize. I said: “Sara what are you drawing today?” Sara said: “I’m drawing a picture of God.” With all sorts of adult ignorance I said: “But Sara, nobody knows what God looks like.” She glanced up for just a second before returning intently to her masterpiece and said: “They will when I get finished.”
It occurs to me today that this is what the two of you now must set out to do with your lives: finish the picture. Show us what God looks like. Show us the face of mercy and the joy of forgiveness. Show us the hospitality of God’s reign. Show us the power of Love to make all things new and bring life into this creation. Show us what lies ahead for all of us who walk down this aisle and make the pilgrimage of life. Finish not just Sara’s picture, but finish what God has begun in you. This is what lies at the end of this aisle, the unmistakable and breakable covenant of God with God’s people.
While you are working on the picture, and while you continue to walk down this aisle again and again, keep saying with confidence what the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews taught you to say which you have shared with us in tonight’s second reading: “The Lord is my helper, and will not be afraid.”