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Sunday, August 10, 2014

08102014 Eighth Sunday After Trinity

This sermon will be preached both at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Goodland, KS and at First Saint Paul's Lutheran Church, Burlington, CO.  I will be posting both audio's of the sermon.

Sermon Audio Goodland
Sermon Audio Burlington

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.

Do you remember the first time you said, “Dadda” or “Momma”.  Probably not, but your Father or Mother probably remembers clearly the sweetness of the moment.  Maybe even in your baby book they recorded the exact date, time and memory.  For our 21st Century culture and the invention of the cell phone with a camera, some parents even captured the moment on video and have shared it with their friends via Facebook, Instagram and even Youtube.  But the reality is that there are some couples who have never heard those words.  Whether it was due to infertility and the inability to have children or even parents who have lost a child due to no fault of their own before birth.  The memorable phrase of “Dadda” or “Momma” or even Paul’s phrase from our lesson “Abba, Father” tug at our heart strings.

But Paul, isn’t just talking about children calling out simple words like “Daddy”, Paul is speaking about we Christians being adopted by God.  In, through and by our baptism into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have been claimed by God and as Paul says, “received a spirit of adoption as sons [and daughters]”.  We are not on the outer limits of the realm of Christianity, where God is far away, we are close and like Father and child, brought closer together and told of God’s love and shown His love in a special way.

We are shown the love of God through His Word, being proclaimed, the sacrament being celebrated, the fellowship of the saints of God, all because we are as Paul says, are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ”.  In the movie the Ultimate Gift, the heirs of the family fortune, who know how much the patriarch is worth all gathered around the table for the reading of the will.  Each of them expected to receive the bulk of his riches or a great share, because they were the ‘perfect’ children.  As the will was read, each received a small portion of the estate, but not what they wanted or felt they deserved.  We to who are Christians will receive our inheritance from God.  It will also not be what we deserve, but out of the great mercy of God and we will receive this only because we are heirs of God through our being washed with the Blood of the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the World.

And as heirs we have an advocate, the Holy Spirit.  When we were baptized in the font, the Holy Spirit was given to each of us and Paul reminds us, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God”.  The Holy Spirit not only claims us, but indwells within each of us.  But we suppress the Holy Spirit.  For some it is because, that is not how we were raised or taught and it is not ‘Lutheran’, others suppress the Holy Spirit because we don’t want to be seen as a ‘Holy Roller’ or ‘Slain in the Spirit’.  But the reality is, God’s Holy Spirit indwells in each of us and we are empowered to be the children of God and heirs of the mysteries of God for the all the people of God.

It is like we have been given a check for “$1000” and we cannot just put it in the bank or use it for something we want to buy.  There are stipulations on this gift.  It must be given away.  What would most of us do?  Go to a charitable organization and give the money to them with all the fan-fare and acknowledgement that our society likes to give when a ‘big gift is given’.  But what if instead of giving it all away at once, we were required to look at this gift differently and cash it in for 1000 one dollar bills, or even better, 4,000 quarters, or even a greater challenge of 10,000 dimes.  What could we do with 10,000 dimes, but walk up and down the streets of a large city and put the dimes in the parking meters for people we do not even know?  This is exactly what God has done with and for each of us, gifted us with His Holy Spirit.  God didn’t tell us as heirs that we had to use His gift to each of us only for ourselves, but empowered each of us to use our gifts of cooking, fellowship, companionship and love for people that we know and love and share it with one another.  God has given us the greatest opportunity in our being given the Spirit of God to be the children of God and gift others with our blessings.

Nowhere is this any clearer than in the One Spark Foundation.  Daily, they share the sparks of life that impact people the most and bless people.  Here is an example from One Spark of the Holy Spirit working in one woman’s life. 

Recently, there was a mother who pulled into the drive thru at McDonald’s and she had seen a homeless man walking to the back of the parking lot to the trash dumpsters.  In the car with her was her mother-in-law and daughter.  While ordering, she added an extra dollar hamburger and fries.  Upon doing this her daughter asked why?  Simply she stated, there are many people that are not as lucky as they were and they may find someone like that.  After getting their food the woman pulled back into the parking lot and pulled up to the trash dumpster that the homeless man was now searching through for any food.  Rolling down the window the mother proceeded to get the man’s attention handed him the burger and fries.  Through the tears of gratitude and unspoken words of the homeless man, the mother knew she had made a difference, not only in this man’s life, but also the witness who was sitting in the back seat of her car.

We to, who gather here today have the greatest opportunity to be ‘led by the Spirit of God’ and be the “children of God”.  For that is what we have been baptized into and empowered to be as God’s Children who not only cry out “Abba!  Father!” but enabled by God to share our love of God with all of mankind, including those who are not here to hear and experience the Gospel of Jesus Christ through our Holy Spirit led hands and lives.  AMEN.


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