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Sunday, May 5, 2013

05052013 Sermon 5th Sunday After Easter

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, Your prophecies before Your crucifixion were meant to reveal the truth not to harm us, but help us understand Who You were.  Enable us to understand that though we are scattered, You unite us with the truth of the Gospel of salvation for all of mankind, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

As a child growing up we used to take trips to some of the lakes and ponds around our home in Keysville.  My Dad loved to fish and us kids loved the experience of getting out in the fresh air.  One of our great past-times as all kids was to find rocks and toss them into the pond or lake to see who could make the biggest splash.  It wasn’t hard to find pebbles and rocks and even easier to toss them into the water.  Like most parents they would scold us because we were scaring the fish or the peaceful serenity of the moment.  But what is strange is what we saw when the rock would enter the water.  Yes it would make a big kurplunk and splash, but more so it would also send out ripples, ever moving circles out from where our rock had entered the water.  The bigger the rock, the bigger the ripples and the further they would go.  What is interesting is that never would we as kids think about the ripples returning to the center, but only being scattered.

From our Gospel this morning, Jesus message is clear for His disciples, “You will be scattered, but I will unite you.”  This passage is again before Jesus betrayal and crucifixion and is Jesus prophecy not only of His ascension into heaven, but also the entrance of the Holy Spirit into the lives of the disciples in a most powerful way on the day of Pentecost.  But Jesus is telling the disciples that He knows the disciples will all fall away from Him and be scattered when the Passion begins.

The disciples scattering is a reality of their humanity and fear for their own lives.  Just as we do when we encounter people, forces or events that scare us, we either ‘fight or flight’.  The disciples when faced with their own mortality would as Jesus said, ‘be scattered’.  They would not come to Jesus aid, nor would they desire to be around.  Though they had witnessed the raising of the dead, the feeding of the 5000, the miracles of healing and prophecy fulfilled, they would run away and leave Jesus to the devices of the Romans and temple guard who had taken Him in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Jesus would suffer the brutal beatings of the guards, the late night questioning by the Synagogue officials, the trial the next morning, being beaten before being led to the Cross and ultimately His being nailed and hung as a public spectacle on Golgotha.  And the disciples all had scattered.

But after Easter morning, the disciples had come back together and in the Upper Room were united and re-united with Jesus Christ.  For the promise that Jesus Christ made to the disciples that we have heard this morning has come true.  “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”  With this phrase Jesus Christ revealed to the disciples and us today our unity in overcoming the world through Him.

This morning as we celebrate the baptism of Aspen, we lay claim to this unity of the faith with her baptism and the reminder of our baptism into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection.  We are set free from the bonds of sin, death and the devil by the Water connected with the Word of God.  God has united all of us as His children under His banner of freedom found in Jesus Christ.  We are not scattered, but united for His work here in His Kingdom.

Yes we live scattered lives and sometimes are dragged away from God by our sinful desires, but the promises we find in Jesus Christ gift of Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper unite us as the Body of Jesus Christ.  In this union we are reminded that God has not only promised us life and salvation, but offers us the forgiveness of sins and daily a renewal of His promises of forgiveness for all of mankind.  This offer, is not exclusive, but inclusive for all of mankind including all of us saints that are gathered here at Emmanuel who celebrate another union of a scattered soul, in this case Aspen, into the Body of Christ we know as the church.  Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ Who unites all of us who have been scattered, but now are united in, with and under the grace offered by Jesus Christ.  AMEN.
//trial script