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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

04182014 Good Friday

Sermon Audio

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.

Last night we stripped the altar bare.  This symbolized Jesus Christ nakedness on the Cross and the shame, humiliation and public ridicule he endured for all of mankind.  Just as the saying goes, ‘naked we came into the world and naked we go out’, it is more appropriate for consideration on this Good Friday.  Last night, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper for forgiveness of sins.  Tonight we mourn, Jesus death.  Last night, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, tonight, Jesus disciples watch in disbelief their leader, teacher and friend being nailed to a Cross in Crucifixion.  Last night, Jesus said to His disciples, stay awake, watch and pray and yet, He found them weak in body and asleep.  Last night, Jesus prayed, ‘if this cup could be taken away’, but Jesus ended His private time saying ‘God’s will be done’.  Tonight is the low point on our Lenten Journey, for tonight is the night that we proclaim, Jesus Christ as dead.

As has been the case in the last six weeks since Lent began we have had a number of funerals.  Each has cut close to many families in our church clan, but all have had one thing in common other than death.  At every funeral we have used the pall to make all of who have entered the church triumphant equal.  The pall is used in the funeral as a covering for the casket.  It is symbolic of the intimate connection we have with our relationship with Jesus Christ through our Baptism.  Though death is symbolized by most in our culture and society with dark colors, even wearing black as a sign of mourning, the pall is a stark contrast symbolizing life.  It is the polar opposite for a distinct reason.  The pall in symbolizing life also is to be the great equalizer of all mankind in the eyes of God and man.  No matter the money we have here on this earth, the cars we drive, the house we live in, the land we own or farm, the amount of money in our banking account, we are all equal before God as symbolized by the pall being draped over the casket.

We are equal simply because of our baptism into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection.  When the Water and Word washes us clean and makes us children of God, we no longer are understood to be sinners.  We are now redeemed children of our heavenly Father.  Yes we still sin, but God has redeemed us.  The symbol of the pall is to remind us we are equal in God’s eyes.  Yes we are dead, just as Jesus Christ died on the Cross of Calvary that we mourn tonight.  But with our spreading the pall over the casket we point not to mourning, not to loss, not to sadness, not to death, we point instead to the light of the World into Whose life we have been baptized into and that gives us life.  We point to Jesus Christ Who chose death on Calvary to Glorify His Father in heaven.  We point to the Cross not in defeat, but in triumph.  We point to the Cross of Christ and our being covered by the pall as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice for all of mankind.

Tonight we gather and see and feel the pall that covers our hearts, it covers Christ’s nakedness and ours and makes us equal in God’s eyes and is the reminder for all of what Jesus Christ did on Calvary on Good Friday.  With this simple covering of the pall we are reminded of our baptism into Jesus Christ and claim this especially tonight.  For tonight Good Friday we mourn Jesus death, we cover our hearts that are filled with sadness, but we know that Jesus Christ offers forgiveness for all of mankind.  It is the forgiveness of sins through His death that compels us to not look to the Cross in the same way, for unlike the disciples who felt there was no hope, we know that we have to mourn on Good Friday, just as we do when we use the pall.  For in our baptism we put on Christ and do so with our use of the pall.  But just as we use the pall, we look to and believe that Sunday is coming, for all of mankind, but especially for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this Good Friday night.  AMEN.

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