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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

09042011 Sermon


May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Jesus Christ, You clearly instruct us in our Gospel this morning what we are to do if our brother sins against us.  May Your wisdom imparted to us help us understand it is out of love that we try and make things right.  For it is Your love for us that is the perfect model for what we are to do in our relationships with our spouse, our children, our brother’s and sisters in Christ and especially with You.  For Your model on the Cross at Calvary reconciled all of us here at Emmanuel with Your Father in heaven for all eternity.  AMEN.

Michele and I enjoy movies that are from historic time periods.  These include, King Arthur and Arthurian legends, Celtic, Norwegian and German histories and even Swedish legends.  We recently began a movie entitled, “Arn”, it is about a Swedish man who becomes a Knights Templar.  For those of you unfamiliar, a Knights Templar is an individual who is a “Warrior for God”.  The Knights Templar is best known for keeping pilgrims safe who journeyed from Saxony and Eastern Europe to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage to see the holy sites in Jerusalem and the surrounding places where Jesus lived and ministered.  Yes, this is prior to the Protestant Reformation and therefore Catholicism is the dominant religion.

In the movie “Arn”, the main character as a Templar Knight remembers his training and the events that brought him to the Holy Land.  Yes, it is a love story of sorts, because it was his love for a woman and her conceiving a child out of wedlock and his supposedly ‘knowing’ the sister of the woman as well that causes both, Arn and this woman to be excommunicated from the Church.  Their punishment was excommunication and serving a 20 year sentence for their sin against the Church.

In our Gospel lesson this morning, Jesus tells His followers the proper way to approach your brother if there is a sin they have committed.  One of the most misunderstood words in church parlance is excommunication.  The goal of excommunication is not throwing someone out of church and heaven for eternity, but to help and aid the erring person to ‘turn away’ or confess their sin, receive forgiveness and renew their relationship with their fellow Christians.

Excommunication is in a strange way, how the church continues to love someone, even if they have violated the church’s rules and or beliefs of living a Christian life.  It is somewhat strange to consider excommunication as a manifestation of one’s love, but the truth is the final outcome is for the one who has erred to understand their impenitence and repent.  With love as the primary motivation it begins to help us understand why our God is a God of love.

This passage is about love and relationship.  One of the best opportunities we have of relationship today is marriage.  And yes, today we celebrate Jake and Gladys anniversary.  The marriage relationship introduced in the Garden of Eden by God between one man and one woman is formed out of mutual love for one another and provides us a model of what the relationship can be.  In the church relationship is not as intimate as the marriage relationship, but the love one has for a brother or sister in Christ is an opportunity in relationship even if we disagree, whether on KU or K-State, no till or strip till, or even John Deere, Case or New Holland.

Excommunication’s final goal is not separation, but returning the relationship to its proper understanding and calling.  For our relationship with one another is to be one of mutual support and admonition, upholding one another in prayer, caring for the spiritual and physical needs we have in our daily walk with Christ.  When excommunication is used in the church, the proper prayerful desire is reconciliation and return of the rightful relationship.

For this proper relationship has been modeled for us by Jesus Christ.  In Jesus life, death and resurrection, He paid the ultimate price to return and make right our relationship with His Father in heaven, the cost was His death to pay for our sins.  His model, our baptism into His life, death and resurrection and the call of the Holy Spirit enable us to daily return our relationship with one another and Him to the place of grace on bended knee at the foot of Calvary.  For Jesus Christ came to repair our relationship with each other as well as with Him and His Father in Heaven for all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.
//trial script