Searching for....

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sermon 09302012 17th Sunday After Trinity

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!  Humble and obedient Lord Jesus Christ, You purposefully and carefully cut through the sinfulness that You encountered and rooted out the pride that people including Your disciples had.  Yet You also taught them and us today that we will be honored, if we humble ourselves and are obedient to Your will.  Enable us to be changed by Your Word and Witness and choose the lower place so we will be moved higher and be exalted because of Your gift to us of our salvation through Your innocent death on Calvary for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

In the last few months, the church council has had some homework.  Unlike when they were in school a test is not given, although some of their kids might find it funny if a test were given, but it is the opportunity for each of the council members to have their faith challenged, but also enriched for their continued growth in relationship with Jesus Christ and their understanding of the Word of God.  We are reading a book entitled, “Experiencing God” written by Henry and Richard Blackaby.  This book is an opportunity for the council to understand God in a richer and deeper way and help them frame their role as council members by and through their individual and our corporate relationship with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

Recently we read a chapter entitled, “Being God’s Servant”.  This chapter dealt with how we can be God’s servant.  Blackaby’s premise is that “To Participate in God’s Work, you must be a servant”.  But in order to be a ‘true servant’, it requires two characteristics, humility and obedience.  If we are humble to God’s will and His way, and obedient to God’s will even if it ‘smacks’ in the face of what culture and society believe we should do, God has a promise for us and will shape us.  God will shape each of us into the instrument of God’s choosing and use us in a wonderful way as His servant.  Hence, we have the opportunity to relate to God, respond to God and clearly adjust our life to Him in order that God will do what He wants in and through our lives and ministry.

Jesus Christ in the Gospel this morning introduced this concept clearly of ‘servant’ mentality that Blackaby spoke about in ‘Experiencing God’.  Jesus said, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Jesus clearly wants us to look at what we do, not with the eyes of society, but with the eyes of God.  Now clearly, we Lutherans do not have the societal problem of getting the best seats up front, for Lutherans the best seats are in the over-flow area.

But hear clearly, this is not about what seat we sit in, but more importantly where our hearts are in service.  If you look around you this morning we have the quilts still out.  This is a prime example of service, not for ourselves, but for others.  This is the servant mentality of humility and obedience in action.  By the hands of the women of this church and one of the departed saints, Clarice Martell, God used their God given abilities to sew each quilt and blanket, tie every knot, sew every hem to make them a blessing for people we do not even know.  Because of the love of the women, the dedication of the church to this ministry Emmanuel through these women have responded to God’s call and humbled themselves with these gifts.  God through their hands are altering the lives of someone they do not even know and God will bless and exalt not only the people who receive these quilts and baby blankets, but all of the women who have given of themselves for God’s glory.

Now, let it also be said, this ministry of quilts or giving to Genesis or the Thrift Store does not ‘gain’ or ‘earn’ salvation.  God sent His Son into the World to offer us salvation on the cross without a cost or price.  These quilts and the good work whether acolyting, being lector, greeter, coffee host or even volunteering to usher, of we the people of God.  These are appropriate responses to God’s gift given to us and just as Martin Luther wrote against the sale of indulgences the work done here at Emmanuel is not in payment for grace but a humble and obedient proper response of grace in action.  For this all flows out of the sacrifice on Calvary by Jesus Christ in which all of us have been baptized into and is to which we look with every action.  God’s gift of His Son offering Himself in humble obedience is the greatest gift offered to and for each and every one of us.  Jesus Christ in suffering and dying offers all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel eternal life freely and without cost.  This is the true and purest model of humility and obedience by Jesus Christ for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel.  So my parting questions for you this morning are how will you serve God in humility and obedience?  How will God’s gift of salvation freely offered inspire you as a saint of Emmanuel?  AMEN.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

09272012 Funeral Sermon for Diana Lynn Dorn

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!  Gracious heavenly Father we gather here to celebrate the life of our sister in Christ Diana.  The saying is extremely true that we are all children of our heavenly Father.  This is especially true for Diana as well as all of us.  May our hearts be enabled to hear Your Word spoken to our hearts and comfort us as we mourn.  For, though the veil of death separates us today from Diana, we are sure of the certain promise You made to us in our baptism that in being baptized into Your life, death and resurrection we are certainly raised with You in Your resurrection.  Comfort us with this thought and let the salve of Your Gospel message surround us so we may hear clearly the Gospel message of our salvation and celebrate Diana’s entrance into eternal glory and resting in Your loving arms.  For this is the baptismal promise made to Diana and all of us especially the saints of her family and those gathered here at Emmanuel to say goodbye.  AMEN.
One of the joys of being a pastor is to teach confirmation class for 7th and 8th graders here at Emmanuel.  For our class this year, I am using a computer and data projector to help display the information I am teaching the kids.  We are covering the Catechism and this past week we talked about sin in our lives.  One of the illustrations used was of a man who was all hunched over with what appeared to be a ‘big stone’ that he was carrying. This illustration showed the stone as sin in our lives and how we ‘carry sins’ with us and can choose when and if we want to ‘put them down’.  All of us, including me as Pastor carry the burden of sin in our lives and Diana was no different.

In the Gospel of John (Jn. 9), Jesus is asked by His own disciples, ‘who sinned, this man’s parents, or the man who was born blind’, and Jesus very profoundly states that the parents did not sin, nor did the man.  This is also especially true for Diana and her parents, Dan and Laura.  Sickness of body, mind and spirit all occur for a single sole purpose.  Just as Paul says that “no one comes short of the grace of God”, the sin manifest for the man was in order that God’s glory may be revealed and that God can and does deal with sin in our world through Jesus Christ..  God’s glory was revealed for the man by Jesus Christ, Son of the Virgin Mary healing him and making him whole.  Now we might ask, why could this have not happened in Diana’s life?  But we need to understand, we are finite creatures and in our sinfulness we want instant immediate action or results.  And Jesus Christ is sinless and an infinite.  Therefore, God with infinite possibilities and potential may not clearly reveal to us His ultimate plan or fulfillment of His Glory in our life time.  Hence, as is clearly the case with Diana, the glory of God was not revealed for us tangibly, nor is it very clear how God made her whole, but intangibly or very hidden from most people she lived with in one simple act Diana has been healed by God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

You see, God in His wisdom made a promise to Diana that Dan and Laura made a reality when they brought Diana to the font for baptism.  In, through and by the Word of God connected with the Water of Baptism, Diana was baptized into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection.  Diana was washed clean by the blood of the lamb.  When the pastor washed her in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, God reached down from heaven and secured the greatest mystery for all of mankind for Diana.  God in this one action insured Diana would today be fully healed in mind, body and spirit while basking in her Savior’s arms for all eternity.

Thus as Diana journeyed through this life with all the burdens she encountered, God gave Diana strength and courage to face the tests of this world and of all time to live a loving life to and for her brothers, her parents and as a model for each of us here who mourn her passing today.  God promised in and by Diana’s baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that He would “strengthen the hands that are weak”.  God promised Diana when the water, intimately connected with the word was poured over her head, that He would strengthen her, and would “make straight paths for her [your] feet, so that she ….would be healed”.  Yet the promise of healing did not occur in this life, but now as she is cared for in the loving arms of her Lord and Savior, God has perfected her weakness and made it a strength where she has a resurrected and perfect body.

Though Diana still in this life walked in the “ “the valley of the shadow of death”.   She no longer feared, because of the promise made for her by her parents, fulfilled in her baptism by Jesus sacrifice on Calvary for her sins and made ultimately complete when she took her final breathe here on earth.  Jesus Christ has now healed her and cares for her in His Kingdom in which He has prepared a place for Diana, Laura her mother and one day for each of us.

We all know the burden that she carried so gracefully throughout life of the challenges she faced mentally, emotionally and physically.  But it is very clear that Diana knew Who her Lord and Savior was Who gave her wisdom beyond her abilities and strength to face each passing day.  This faith she exhibited clearly even while facing death when she sang, the song we will process out with this afternoon.  This song, “You are my sunshine”, though simple in verse, clearly relates to us today the Gospel of Jesus Christ in her life and for all of us today.  God is our sunshine and even to Diana’s last hours, Jesus Christ was her rock and her shelter.  And now I confidently proclaim that Diana rests in her Lord and Savior’s arms, because of what Jesus Christ did for Diana on the Cross of Calvary and which she has been baptized into, His life, death and now her resurrection with Him.  That is the baptismal promise God made to Diana and the comfort that all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel can take away this afternoon from Jesus Christ for all of us saints.  AMEN.

Now may the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding guard our hearts and minds and comfort us today, because of what Jesus Christ did in Diana’s life and ours!  AMEN!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sermon 09232012 16th Sunday After Trinity

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!  Lord Jesus Christ, when You saw the pall bearers carrying the woman’s son, You had compassion upon the widow.  In that moment by Your simple command, the young man was raised from the dead and you gave him back to his mother.  May we understand that this miracle was to show not only Your humanity, but especially Your divinity.  For only God, in Human form could command the dead to be raised and You are God the Son, born of a virgin that came to set us free from death.  This is accomplished only through our baptism into Your life, death and resurrection for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

One of Michele’s and my favorite programs is the “Big Bang Theory”.  For some, it may seem out of character for a Pastor to have a favorite television program with this title, but for Michele and myself, it is a show that epitomizes science ‘nerds’ and as the saying goes, ‘I are one’. 

However, if you go to the Sunday School room here at Emmanuel, in complete opposition to the “Big Bang Theory” you will find on one of the walls the order of the days of Creation.  From Day one to Day seven where the heavens and the earth are formed, the plants, trees, animals and the oceans and mountains and all of creation where our world as we know it was formed by God.  It is clear from the Biblical Story, unlike with creationism that man specifically Adam was of great importance.  Adam according to Genesis was formed in God’s image and was given dominion over the entire earth.  Hence, when Adam spoke, the question could be asked, ‘By whose authority do you speak?’  The response was that it was by the authority of God Who had entrusted and given the responsibility of the care of the earth to Adam.

In our Gospel this morning, this same question, ‘By whose authority do you speak?’ was probably asked of Jesus Christ.  From our lesson, it is clear that Jesus was travelling with his disciples near the city called Nain.  And what should be approaching Him, but a funeral procession.  Unlike today here in Goodland, KS or in the South, where we ‘pull off the side of the road’, in Christian respect for the family of the deceased, in Jesus day since no one drove cars, people would just stop and ‘pay their respects’ by stopping what they were doing or where they were going.  This included workers in the fields and laborers no matter the task they were accomplishing.  It was a sign of respect.  As well, it was a great honor for the men who were asked to help carry the person to their final resting place.  Just as we have here in Western KS the cemeteries at the outskirts of the towns, it was the last and final journey of individuals and the people would accompany the deceased to their final resting place on the outskirts of the town or city.  Ironically the cemeteries were very near the town or city to allow the bereaved to visit their families final resting place, such as with Lazarus and his sisters.

Luke says, “Now as He [that is Jesus] approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her.”  So this procession was a very large crowd from the city, there were apparently many mourners.  Having already lost her husband and now her son, the town was probably well aware of her circumstances.  And now this, her only son was being born by his friends and lamented very loudly by the women and mourners to his final resting place on the outskirts of the city.

13 When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her,.  Jesus shows very clearly His Humanity and His Divinity here.  Since He was travelling and unlike our culture where there are announcements and where we wait two or three days for burial, the religious custom for Jews was to bury the person before the sun set on the day of their death.  Hence, the news may not have spread to where Jesus and the disciples were, but in His Divinity, Jesus Christ was divinely omniscient.  He knew everything there was to know about this woman, her son and her family because He was God the Son, Second person of the Holy Trinity.  Since we humans do not have the same gift and power of omniscience as God, we marvel at Jesus revealing to us His personal knowledge, not only in simple words, but a very profound action.  And Jesus says to the mother with the tenderness of true knowledge and understanding, “Do not weep”, for He, that is Jesus, knows exactly what He will do.

Jesus stops the bearers of the coffin and says, “Young man, I say to you arise!”  And in that simple phrase, Jesus commands the young man to get up.  But, by whose authority does He that is Jesus speak?  By the authority of His Divinity, His Humanity and His Humility, Jesus command is not one of potential, but of abject reality revealed for the woman whose son was about to be buried, for the crowd gathered around the coffin and in the procession and for we God’s people today.

Jesus Christ with the authority given by His Father, revealed through the prophets of the Old Testament, fulfilled in His birth in the manger in Bethlehem and today made completely manifest in the simple command to arise, reveals Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit to each of us today.  For unlike commands of parents to children who don’t listen when we tell them to clean their room, to adults to cease and desist their destructive behaviors or even the whistle of the referee to end the play at a football game, Jesus Christ command was clear and unmistakable.  “Young man, I say to you arise!

Luke records, “15 The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother.”  Without any pause in time, the young man, once dead and being borne to his resting place, now speaks and Jesus returns him to his mother.  Jesus Christ with authority here on earth over storms, over oceans, over fish of the sea, over all creatures great and small with all humility and compassion gives this young man back to his mother.  The son she had mourned over not ten minutes earlier now is returned to her by Jesus Christ, alive and talking just as if nothing were different.

 And “16 Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and, “God has visited His people!”  The people were afraid because of what they had just seen and experienced.  In their midst, Jesus Christ brought a young man back from the dead.  This was not a parlor trick, nor was it elaborate trickery that was performed.  Clearly the people had heard about Elijah and Elisha, the great prophets who had brought people back to life, but the further acclimation “God has visited His people!” clearly shows that Jesus Christ the Man in their presence was special, for in a simple way, they proclaimed Jesus Christ as not only prophet, but also God.  Hence in answer to the question, “By whose authority do you speak?”, it was by the authority of God that Jesus Christ brought this man back to life.  And now the news would spread throughout the region of what had occurred outside the city of Nain.

But what and why is that important for us today?  Simply the Word of God incarnate and manifest for this widow and her son are manifest for us today as we read Holy Scripture and hear the miracle that God in Jesus Christ performed.  In our confession in a few minutes we lay claim to this miracle.  For when we confess, “I believe in the resurrection of the body”, we clearly connect ourselves with this widow and the miracle of her son being raised from the dead that Jesus performed.  Though the young man was being taken to his final resting place, Jesus Christ resurrected his body and gave him back to his mother.  So to on the day of our death, when we breathe our last, God’s Holy Angels will take us to be in God’s Kingdom.  We will have our resurrected bodies, no longer full of cancer, arthritis, sickness, MS, diabetes or our own frailties.  We will have resurrected bodies perfected in the image of God.

Then all of us saints who gather here at Emmanuel for worship, for prayer, for confession and forgiveness, for partaking of the precious Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior, will enter into eternity with our Lord and Savior.  Because of Jesus Christ sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary for all mankind and in and through His innocent death that we have been baptized into, death no longer has dominion over us and we are set free for all eternity.  By and through the Holy Spirit calling us through the Gospel we receive eternal life and God will bring all of us saints here at Emmanuel to be home with Him in His kingdom.  For clearly, when asked, “By whose authority do you speak this?”, I confidently say, it is by God’s authority through Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection and my calling by God through you the people of Emmanuel that as Pastor of Word and Sacrament ministry here at Emmanuel I declare, not only the forgiveness of sins, but life and salvation for those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  For these are the free gifts of God offered for the people of God, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel.  Thanks be to God!  AMEN.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sermon 09162012 15th Sunday After Trinity

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!  O Lord, we beseech Thee, let Thy continual pity cleanse and defend Thy Church; and because it cannot continue in safety without Thy succor, preserve it evermore by Thy help and goodness, through Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost world without end.  AMEN.

If someone were to ask you, what are you doing on Sunday morning at 9AM?  You easily and rightly would say, since you are here this morning, I am attending church.  Another way to say the same thing, but with a whole different meaning is that “I am attending church services”.  This one word, ‘service’ has a most profound meaning.  Used in both the Old Testament and New Testament as a verb, a noun and a participle it takes on many different meanings.  From action, to descriptive to station, each use of ‘service’ is unique in its own way in the Old and New Testament, but has application for us today.

This morning, in our Gospel, Jesus is very clear.  No one can serve two masters”.  Clearly, Jesus is trying to get his disciples and us to look at ‘service’ differently and in essence ask, “Who do you serve?”  In speaking to the disciples, Jesus knows what is in the heart of man when he says, “for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.  Since man is conceived in sin, is sinful in thought word and deed, cannot by our own reason or effort do good, since we ‘all fall short of the glory of God’, we are sinful creatures that look only for what is in and to our own benefit, even if it means someone else may potentially be hurt by our sinful greed.  Realize, this is not slamming good business practices, but acting with our desire and greed for more or the ‘best’ at the expense of what is fair and not exercising our muscle of faith.  Whether it be buying a new tractor for the farm, a new truck, or even negotiating a contract with our landlords.  We want the best deal and to get the most out for our input, without sacrificing or being fair to the other.  This is the sinner part of what Martin Luther called our simul ustis et pecator, simultaneously sinner and saint all at the same time.  Hence we cannot divide our loyalties.  We cannot serve two masters.  As Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and wealth.  We cannot and are unable to be fair.

That is the sickness, the sin in our lives that pervades us and surrounds us.  This is the wretchedness that we each have and live in daily.  It is the sinfulness that connects us to Adam and Eve.  It is the sinfulness that the law shows us on a daily basis.  In the Bible and the Catechism, it is clear, if we break one law, we are guilty of all.  We cannot piece meal or pick and choose which laws apply to us and which do not.  We are guilty of all sins and all laws.

So what can we do?  Nothing.  We are incapable of saving ourselves.  Martin Luther in writing the 95 Theses and nailing them on the door at Wittenberg saw our lost nature and how no matter the service we offer to God, whether penance, ushering, reading, acolyting, serving on council or even as a pastor, nothing can or could save us.

How then can we be saved?  The question comes back to ‘who do you serve?’  If no physical labor can save us, why is this question of, ‘who do you serve’ important?  Simply it flows from Jesus continued words.  For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life”.  In essence, do not worry.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Your worry will not add a single day to your life.  Your clothing your car, your house, your farm, your harvest and your church will pass away, but your soul and your spirit is what you need to be more concerned about.

Jesus rightly said, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  These animals that God created while trying to find a help mate for Adam and that Adam named, God provides for their every need.  This was clearly seen this week when I was visiting one of the residents at Good Samaritan, the sparrows and the finches were in the tree’s chattering away and fluttered to the ground and partook of the feast God had provided for them.  God out of His divine generosity fed them.  So to, God out of His divine mercy gave the rain that fell on Wednesday as well as the sunshine that we enjoyed most of this summer.

And Jesus nails the point clearly upon the disciples and us today when He says.  Are you not worth much more than they?  And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  We cannot even through our service, merit or earn by our worry a single second, minute, hour or day to our life.  For the crops that we have had to plow under this summer because of the lack of rain, to the lack of money that comes in the offering every Sunday, to the worry over our children who stay out late.  No matter the circumstance we cannot change the amount of time we will be on this earth.  All of this is in God’s plan.

Jesus continued, “Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?  God will provide what we need.  If we doubt God, then Jesus statement is very true.  You of little faith!  We should not be worried.  God will provide for us, we need to be more mindful of our souls.  For Jesus continued, “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  God wants us to concentrate on what is important, our souls and answer the question, ‘who do you serve?’ very simply.  God doesn’t want us to be like the unbelievers, for He says, “For the Gentiles [in essence unbelievers] eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.   God wants us to solely rely and believe upon Him.

God wants us to answer the question, ‘who do you serve?’ with this in mind.  Jesus says, “But seek first His [that is God’s] kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Choose to serve God, not because you have to, but because you want to.  Just as we have the clip boards here and ask for your service, we ask for your help and service, not for glory, honor or praise, but as a proclamation of what God has done, will do and continues to do for each of us through Jesus Christ.  For there is a blessing with the words, “and all these things will be added to you.”  God will richly bless us beyond our wildest dreams when we serve Him, in innocence, humility and humble obedience, knowing we serve not because it is in a covenant, but because we want to honor God’s gift first given to us.

For the gift first given to us, was His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ and the free grace offered to us by His innocent death on the Cross of Calvary.  We furthermore are today offered His precious Body and Blood around the altar when we partake of His Holy Supper.  We receive life and salvation and can clearly hear Jesus words, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  By receiving His gifts of grace in, through and by the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament, we are empowered to answer the question, ‘who do you serve’?  We serve Jesus Christ who came to serve us and died for all of mankind, especially all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel who gather around the table of the Lord eating the great mystery of His Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins for all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  So, ‘who do you serve?’  AMEN.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sermon 09092012 14th Sunday After Trinity

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, Lord God heavenly Father, we bow our heads before You humbled because of the realization that You sent Your Son Jesus Christ into the World to save all of mankind.  Grant us the ability to not only thank You for this gift, but pray continually that Your will be done in our lives.  For the lepers in our Gospel felt Your compassion, but only one came to honor and praise You.  May the leper who modeled for us what our action should be through and by the Holy Spirit enable us to as Luther said, ‘pray, praise and give thanks’ no matter the circumstance or outcome.  For Your promises are sure and certain for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

Our Old Testament lesson from Proverbs this morning clearly begs a question.  So what did you do?  Written by Solomon about the 10th Century before Christ, the sayings written in the Book of Proverbs have a central focus, the wisdom of the Israelite people.  Used in marriage ceremonies, self-help books and highlighted by authors today seeking to impart a ‘bit of wisdom’ to the reader we find multiple uses for Solomon’s Wisdom.  But this morning, Solomon has a distinct person and purpose in mind in his writing.
This is the fifth address to a son in the series, and is a reading that clearly wants us to understand there are benefits and there are consequences to hearing and heeding the wisdom spoken.  Thus it is appropriate to ask the son Solomon is writing to, “So what did you do?”  But, from our text in Proverbs, the action by the son is not clearly revealed to us in our limited reading of our text, however, our Gospel this morning does have a clear action that occurs.

From our Gospel this morning, Jesus is confronted by “ten leprous men”.  They did not even feel worthy to come into his close presence, but “stood at a distance” to meet Jesus Christ.  Remember that people who had leprosy were outcasts of society.  They stayed in enclaves at the edge of the city, because Old Testament law believed they were unclean.  If anyone came into contact with anybody with leprosy, you were ceremonially unclean and had to follow the ritual of cleansing before entering the temple.  And it was not just a matter of ‘washing’, but the laws that had crept into practice required time, energy and money in order to allow a person to enter the synagogue for worship.  Matter of fact in our Films of Faith series when we showed “Lion of Judah” the ceremonial laws were alluded to when the pig as an unclean creature entered into the synagogue and the pigeons stated it was a blasphemy of the temple and the law.

Yet, these ten men, ‘standing at a distance’ “raised their voices, [at Jesus] saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”  Echoing the Psalmist the lepers in lifting up their voices and calling on Jesus to have mercy upon them clearly echo’s the intent of the Second Commandment that says, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.”  The lepers were in fact asking and begging Jesus for help.  The lepers were calling upon Jesus in their time of trouble and asking for His help.  They knew, Jesus was the only person Who could set them free from the separation they had from their families, their community and from their God in the synagogue.  Jesus Christ was their only hope.

Thus, Jesus hearing their plea and cry for help says, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”  Jesus commands them to turn from Him and in faith head to the priests.  Jesus knew when they turned and headed towards the temple, they would be cleansed.  But Jesus required they turn and exhibit an action in faith that they would be healed.  Jesus wanted the lepers to use their muscle of faith and act.  Jesus wanted to see their response to our initial question this morning, “So what did you do?”

Luke continues, “Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him.”  This man, who now was cleansed and could now return to his family and return to the temple, did what we sometimes cannot and choose not to do.  He turned and glorified God, not because of the healing that had occurred, but because the relationship that was broken of his inability to go to the synagogue had been healed by Jesus simple command.  Unlike two weeks ago where Jesus touched the deaf man and put His saliva on his tongue, in this mornings Gospel, the simple command and following or responding to Jesus command in faith imparted the forgiveness and cleansing that the leper so desperately needed and wanted.  And what is ironic is that this man “was a Samaritan”, a foreigner, someone who was not from their neck of the woods and didn’t have the same lineage or history as the ‘locals’ or ‘proper Jews’.

Luke continues, “Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed?  But the nine—where are they?  Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?””  So even Jesus plainly states, there were more, asking the question in a sense, “So what did you do?” about the other nine lepers who were healed.  Clearly they didn’t understand the significance nor appreciate in the same way the cleansing that this foreigner understood.  And clearly only this foreigner by his actions would be able to answer, “So what did you do?”  This Samaritan in faith followed Jesus directions, was healed and turned back and praised God for his being healed, but also his relationship with God being fully restored by allowing him to go to the synagogue and worship God.

But what about we God’s people today.  Would we have responded any different than the nine lepers who just kept on walking?  When God gives a good wheat crop, do you come to God’s house and ‘pray, praise and give thanks’ as the Second Commandment calls us to do?  Or do you go on vacation and by your actions say, God knows what is in my heart?

Clearly there are some hard decisions that need made.  There are some tough situations that we face today like cancer that ravages the body, dementia that ravages the mind, arthritis that cripples us, breaking of relationships between parents and children, husband and wife, brother and sisters in Christ.  The breaking of relationships and ills of the body do not only happen outside of the church, but live, breath and have a profound impact upon how we love one another and deal with one another right here in the church.
When we encounter these trials and tribulations, just as Solomon imparted wisdom to his son, we have the opportunity to answer for ourselves, “So what did you do?”  Clearly as fallen creatures we may not and usually do not act the way that Jesus Christ modeled for us.  But we are afforded an opportunity to think and act like Christians, who have been baptized into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  That is our calling, our mission and our responsibility.  Because all of us are called by Jesus Christ in, through and by our baptism into His life, death and resurrection since we are called Children of God.  Our mission as individuals and a congregation to each other is to spread the love of God to the entire world.  And it is our calling and responsibility to fulfill this daily and individually towards each other, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ and all of mankind.  For we can and do have an eternal impact on the lives of all people, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  So my question for you today is simple.  Because of God’s free grace that requires nothing from us, offered to us through Jesus Christ innocent death on Calvary for all of mankind, including all of us saints here at Emmanuel, “So what are you going to do?”  AMEN.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Will you be #1000????

I just noticed that the next person who looks at the web page will be 1000th person to look at this web page.

Please comment below who you are, what you are looking for and why you took a look!!!

Also, if you read this page on a regular basis, I would love to hear what your thoughts are about the blog!!!

I look forward to your input to make this a better outreach ministry!!!!

Pastor Darian L. Hybl

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Little R&R

Good Morning Everyone,

Just wanted to let you know I took some much needed R&R this past weekend, Sept. 2, 2012 and did not preach at Emmanuel in Goodland.

Join in this coming Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012 for another delving into the scriptures and our application with the Small Catechism.

Yours In Christ,
Pastor Darian L. Hybl
//trial script