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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sermon 12122012 Advent 3 Mid-Week


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 Redeemer, You came into this world heralded by John the Baptist, the son of Elizabeth and Zacharias.  Yet, even before either of You left the womb, John’s reaction to hearing Your mother’s voice was unmistakable.  John you lept in your mother’s womb, because of the promise being fulfilled by Jesus coming to set His people free for all mankind and Mary’s special role as ‘theotokos’, the ‘Mother of God’.  May we who hear the message of salvation understand it is spoken to and for each of us today, especially for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this evening.  AMEN.

One of the neatest things that one can do as a child is to go swimming.  For some children the water is a scary place, but for others it is calming and soothing.  A peculiar characteristic of water is how sound travels.  Whales and other mammals that live under the sea use sound to converse, like we do to talk, but unlike sound outside of water that travels only short distances, water carries sounds for hundreds if not thousands of miles.  This characteristic of water allows the creatures of the deep to not only communicate long distances, but the message carried remains clear and unmistakable.

So to tonight, the message that we heard from Luke is very clear and unmistakable.  “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb”.  Clearly, even with the sound of Mary’s voice, John still in his mother’s womb heard the voice of the woman who was carrying the Savior of the World.  Even through the skin, the amniotic sac and fluid, John, the one who would herald the coming of the Messiah was sending a message not only to his mother, but for all of us today.  John lept in his mother’s womb for joy that the Savior was so near to him and clearly shows us today that life does begin from the time of conception.

But what is more profound is what occurs next.  “And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”  The coming of the Holy Spirit upon Elizabeth and her inspiration and acclimation of Mary and especially the ‘fruit of her womb’ not only indicates the gift being born in Mary’s womb, but the gift that we prepare for even and especially today.  The gift is of the coming of the Savior, Jesus Christ for all of mankind.

Tonight we continue to prepare the hard soil of our hearts for the coming of the Savior.  Yes, we have not had moisture to soften the soil for the sprouting of the wheat for our spring harvest, but tonight we hear the greater message of salvation of our souls in the coming of the Savior for each and every one of us.  This message of salvation borne and inspired by the Holy Spirit in Elizabeth is the same message heralded for us today.  It is the message of the coming Messiah Jesus Christ Who saves us.  It is not only of His being borne by Mary, but of His coming to set us free from sin, death and the devil.

How can this occur with a little babe?  Come and see, come and experience the grace, joy and peace offered by Jesus Christ.  Just as the people experienced Pentecost, with the coming of the Holy Spirit and Elizabeth was inspired by the Holy Spirit to make the bold acclimation she did, we to, who come on bended knee are called, gathered and enlightened by the Holy Spirit to make the same clear and bold acclimation and declaration about Jesus Christ.  Through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, just as the rain softens the soil to allow the wheat to germinate, the Holy Spirit works in all of us our salvation that is offered by Jesus Christ and His coming.

In, through and by the Holy Spirit’s work, we are set free to be the people of God.  By example here tonight we hear how John the Baptist even with unspoken words, once he heard Mary’s voice, knew the Savior was not just a promise, but a reality.  We to who hear Jesus call for each of us have a Pentecost moment where we like Elizabeth can be filled with the Holy Spirit and clearly proclaim our “Emmanuel”, our “God with Us”.  For this is the promise we not only hear about, but we receive when we come and hear His Word, heed His call and herald the message for all of mankind.  This is not the sound of a clanging gong, but the sound of our Savior Who comes to set all of mankind free, especially all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this evening in preparation for the coming of our Savior.  AMEN.
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