This month, our confirmation youth resume their classes. Last year, they dwelt in the Small Catechism and learned what it means to be a Lutheran. This year, the youth are going to dwell in the scriptures. They are going to learn what the Bible is. They are going to experience the stories in the Bible. We start in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) in the year’s first half and move to the New Testament in the second half.
I am excited to dwell in the Hebrew Bible. So often, we only hear the stories of Jesus from the Gospels. We spend so much time pondering the story of Baby Jesus, who grows up and becomes the Savior of the world through his death and resurrection, that we forget how God was moving through the world up to that point. As we dwell in the Hebrew Bible, our youth will learn why the Bible is so special, why certain parts made it into the final draft, and who had the right to decide. They will ponder why the Hebrew Bible is in the Christian Bible while the stories of Jesus appear in the New Testament. They will wrestle with creation stories even knowing that science tells us something different. The youth will wonder why God chooses to favor Moses and the Israelites. They will have challenging discussions about the law and how it changes through scripture and the world. We will learn how God loves and cares for outsiders, including Ruth. We will review the history of God through the stories of judges, kings, prophets, and the Babylonian captivity. I hope our youth also recognize that the Bible comprises various genres, including poetry, wisdom literature, historical books, and prophecy. And of course, I hope that the confirmation youth witness God’s love through these stories.
I believe that God wants all of us to be able to hear and know the Word of God. Martin Luther translated the scriptures into the common language and had them mass-produced on the printing press so that all people could hear God’s stories and the world that God loves. God wants us to know these stories so that we might witness how God is loving. This fall, I encourage you all to dwell in the Hebrew Bible just like the youth in our congregation.
Pastor Tyler, September 2022