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Monday, October 20, 2014

10192014 Eighteenth Sunday After Trinity

Gospel Audio
Sermon Audio

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

            Last week we had before us a fan and an extension cord to clearly demonstrate how we need to be connected to the power of God here in the church.  God in a very clear way connects to us not only by His Word proclaimed from the pulpit and lectern, but also through what we celebrate today from around the altar in the Lord’s Supper.  Thus, I have before us a chalice and ciborium.

Contained in the chalice is the wine which is the Blood of Jesus Christ and in the ciborium is the host or Body of Jesus Christ.  These two elements, Bread and Wine are the Body and Blood of our Savior Jesus Christ from which we receive the means of grace and salvation that God is offering us today.  We come to church to receive from God forgiveness in the absolution declared to us after our confession and from the altar the gift of eternal life and salvation from Jesus Christ.  Our coming for communion is all about relationship with God.

God is calling us into a clearer and more vibrant vertical relationship with Him.  A relationship where we walk with Him and talk with Him and unload our burdens upon Him.  The 23rd Psalm is a perfect example of the relationship we can have with God.  Not only God bearing our burdens, but God preparing a table for us.  And this table is not only for us, but also the vertical side of the relationship of and between men and women with each other here in the church and in our daily lives.  There are times where our relationships not only are stressed and strained, but especially heavy burdens.  Whether by our words or actions we create a hostility that is harmful and the opposite of the love of Christ.  But because of Jesus Christ and through His influence and unconditional love for all of us, we can change and love one another in our daily lives.  As the Church of Jesus Christ and the saying we heard last week of “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism”, we can be united in one fellowship as the differing members of the Body of Christ that we are.  Yet we also need to ask and answer the question of our unity in the Spirit with “How are we to do it, ‘be the church’ here at Emmanuel?”

We here at Emmanuel are united in a fellowship with God and one another that will never fail.  We do at times disagree, sometimes with great vigor and conviction, but God’s fellowship that we are a part of and baptized into through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism will never fail.  Our fellowship is biblical, in that Paul in 1st Corinthians (1:9) says, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Our fellowship not only is with God, but with one another since we are coheirs with Jesus Christ and our fellowship will not fail.  We who gather here today, have been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ in our Baptism.  So we here in the church are united in a fellowship of believers that will not fail, because it is built around and upon our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is calling us by name and desires to have a personal relationship with each and every one of us.

The relationship God through His Son Jesus Christ is calling us to begins with our hearing the Word of God, our believing that God died for us and our confessing our sins and then being baptized.  We then can come like we will today to receive the precious Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior from the altar.  It is through our eating His Body and drinking His Blood that we connect with Jesus Christ and one another in a common confession of faith.  And this also reinforces the personal relationship that God has with each and every one of us through our baptism into Jesus Christ as His children.

In our being baptized into Jesus Christ, life, death and resurrection, we are changed, because Jesus Christ lives within each of us.  We are new creatures redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the World.  We in being baptized no longer are in bondage, but set free to be the people of God He calls us to be.  We are transformed and converted into the saints that God has made and enabled each of us to be the church of Jesus Christ.  As was said at our last council meeting, we have the opportunity to ‘be the church’.

God wants us to have the fellowship of the saints while gathered here on earth.  This is why we have church to be fed with His Word and His Sacrament of His Body and Blood and enabled and encouraged to go and “be the church” for all the people that we meet.  In one sense the church is like a gas station, like the Co-Op or Casey’s, where we come to fill up our tanks with God’s grace and mercy for all of mankind, through Word and Sacrament so we can continue on our journey of life and share what we have been given here from the lectern, pulpit and especially the altar and share it with everyone we meet.

And this morning in the light of pure grace offered for us, God is calling us to turn the page of our relationship with Him and with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, from the old that is hurt and mired and stuck in the mud and unable to change, to the new relationship built upon the strength of Jesus Christ.  Our Sermon hymn “Rise Up, O Saints of God!” is calling us to this new relationship.  It is a hymn that paints a clear picture of God’s calling us saints to “Rise Up” and “be the church”.  Since we are in fellowship with Jesus Christ we are enabled and empowered to “be the church”.  So our “hearts with nobler zeal might burn” and be enabled to lay claim to the grace of God for each of us and lay claim to the “word of hope” that is promised and fulfilled in and for each of us by Jesus Christ.  And we are called to “rise up” and “embrace the kingdom’s task” of spreading the grace God offers us in our worship and especially in the meal we share today.  Thus we can “commit our hearts to seek the path which Christ has trod” where we can “rise up as the saints of God” and “be the church” that Jesus Christ instilled in each of us in Holy Baptism.

God is calling us to this reality because of the grace offered on Calvary for all of mankind, especially including all of us saints gathered here this morning.  Let’s ‘be the church’ and extend our hands in Christian love, service and outreach, because God sent His Son, Jesus to be in relationship with us.  May we as we leave the church today not just ‘be consumers’, but ‘be the church’ that God can use for a kingdom impact here in Goodland and for all of mankind, including all of us saints gathered here this morning.  Let’s begin here at and in Emmanuel and let the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of God and our love for Him and one another spread and radiate out into our community of Goodland as we “be the church”.

Let us pray, heavenly Father, You clearly want to have the personal relationship with each of us.  Enable us to daily turn to You in trust and prayer for Your will to be done in our lives.  Please heal the rifts caused by our personalities and focus each of us on what You can do through each and every one of us as members of the Body of Christ who want to “be the church”.  For Your desire is clear for each of us to trust in You and have a personal relationship with all of the saints including each of us gathered here this morning.  AMEN.

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