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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sermon 11062011

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, before you ‘opened Your mouth’ and taught the disciples overlooking the Sea of Galilee, You had seen the great crowds following You in search of the great truths.  So on a mountain, You sat and revealed to them the blessings that God had in store for them in the new heaven and the new earth.  As we hear today those same blessings, may our hearts burn within us to embrace our calling and hear Your clear message about the prophets spoken “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven”, for that is for all of us saints here at Emmanuel gathered here today and those who now reside in the church triumphant that we remember on this All Saints Sunday.  AMEN.

It is plainly clear if one looks at the spot where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, you can see in the near distance the Sea of Galilee.  Today, on that very spot a ‘shrine’ of sorts has been built where all of the sayings of Jesus from the Beatitudes are engraved on the walls of the building.  When I was there I not only enjoyed the building and the deep sense of being able to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, I also took note of the surrounding country.  Just North of the garden area and building holding all of the sayings of Jesus, was a field.  For some in our tour group it was just another field, but that field clearly connects for me today how similar Western Kansas is to Israel.  You see, the field directly to the North when I was there in 1999 was one of wheat.  And just as we harvest our winter wheat, so to in Israel, the place where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, I find the most profound connection to not only Jesus Christ and beginning to understand His Words, but also how Blessed we are here in Western Kansas.

You see, Jesus in the Beatitudes is speaking clearly about relationship.  Some probably ask, why is relationship important?  But it is clear, here Jesus, at the beginning of His ministry wants everyone to know how important relationship is, not only with God, but with each other and how we as Christians will be treated.  In one sense this is a prophecy and a history lesson all rolled up into one. 

For the first four beatitudes speaks to our relationship with God.  When Jesus says, Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those that mourn, blessed are the meek, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, all that is received is from God.  For it is clear that Jesus promises them the kingdom of heaven, that they will be comforted, that they will inherit the earth and they shall be satisfied.  Only God could make this a reality and Jesus clearly knowing the past, present and future assures those listening that the relationship they have with their Savior will give them, not only eternal life, but blessings beyond their greatest dream or desire.

But Jesus doesn’t end there with the relationship we are to have with our God, He continues with the relationship we are to have with each other.  Blessed are the merciful, the pure in heart and the peacemakers.  For the blessings they receive and impart are of mercy to and for each other, seeing God and the boldest acclimation being called ‘Sons of God’.  These tangible blessings we are empowered by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to share in all of our relationships with each other.

And finally, Jesus prophesies about how we will be treated as His disciples.  Blessed are those who are persecuted, blessed are you when others revile you, but the key is that this is ‘on Jesus account’.  When we stand up for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and are reviled, persecuted and suffer great tragedy on Jesus account, Jesus is clear.  For He says, we will have the reward of the kingdom of heaven.  “For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  And today as we celebrate All Saints Day, it is not only the saints who remained in the faith that have passed away in the last year, our celebration includes All of the Saints from all time and all place who stood firm in their faith and their conviction in the salvation found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You see today as we celebrate All Saints Day and come to the Lord’s Table and receive His precious Body and Blood, we join in the feast of Saints with all the Saints of all time and place.  We join with the church triumphant and have a foretaste of the feast to come.  Not only are our prayers joined with them, but on the other side of the Altar we all kneel at the Lord’s Table and receive His Precious Body and Blood.  For it is our receipt of His precious Body and Blood that promises us eternal life and enables us to not only see the Blessings God has given us, but to be a Blessing to all we encounter in our lives.  The Meal of Jesus Precious Body Broken for us and His innocent Blood Shed for us on the Cross of Calvary is the Food of Eternal Life that empowers us to not only believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but in all of our relationships to clearly encounter and model for others our Savior.  We are empowered by His Body and Blood to clearly live in relationship with one another and be the Blessing and encounter the Blessing He promises us in His Sermon on the Mount for all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.
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