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Sunday, November 16, 2014

11162014 22nd Sunday After Trinity

Gospel Reading Audio
Sermon Audio

November 16, 2014
What fills your cup?
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.

At this time of year when celebrations with family and friends ramps up into high gear for the holidays we all experience a common use of one of our five senses.  When you enter a home, whether your own or another abode as a family member or guest, the first thing that everyone notices is the smell.  Today we have either an opportunity or a burden and challenge, depending upon your vantage point of smelling the feast that has been prepared for us downstairs by the ladies of the congregation.  So I will try and keep the sermon short so we can celebrate by eating some turkey and all the fixings together as the family of God and brothers and sisters in Christ downstairs.

It is clear when anyone sets a table for a feast, there is always a plate, silverware a napkin and finally a cup.  As a child I remember we would get the small cups, which were either plastic, covered or indestructible, because someone would always drop their drink and that was the last thing that any parent wants to do on Thanksgiving or Christmas, clean another spill by their child or have an expensive trip to the emergency room to get stitches or even the dry cleaner to clean the fine linen that is only used during the holidays.

For adults sitting at the table during the holidays at our house there would always be the opportunity to have a glass of wine, so the fine stem china wine glasses would be set at the adults seats.  As I grew older I even would have one of the more expensive wine glasses, and mine would have either water, milk or grape juice, but not wine.

But this begs a question for we who gather here this morning that we need to ask and answer during our Thanksgiving celebration, “What fills your cup?”  Not the physical cup we drink from, but our spiritual cup.

In our Epistle lesson this morning Paul states simply that we need to be “always offering prayer”.  When we begin with an attitude of prayer in the morning, we carry throughout the day an attitude of gratitude, generosity and concern that clearly demonstrates our thanks for what we have been entrusted with from God.  As the word thanksgiving shows we have the greatest opportunity at this time of the year to offer our heartfelt thanks for the gifts that God has given us.

As farmers, there are times when you survey the fields that have been struck by an unrelenting hail storm, a wind storm that has knocked all of your ready to harvest corn to the ground or even a drought that seems to last for years.  Immediately what comes to mind is how will I pay the note, how will I make ends meet until the next crop is harvested, is the field on the other end of the county going to be hit by this storm?  All of this is the worry of daily life of a farmer here on the plains of Northwestern Kansas.

When we encounter this reality, the last thing we sometimes can do is pray or be thankful.  But God wants us to do just that.  Offer prayer to God and call on Him at our darkest hour as well as our time of clear celebration and thankfulness.  For God’s promise is true, “He Who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus”.  The good work is our baptism into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection.  The good work of our baptism is all about our eternal salvation, not the things that will pass away, but the eternal.  Hence we return to the question, “What fills your cup?”

Paul goes on to say, “this I pray, that your love may abound” and that we may be “blameless until the day of Christ”.  Paul wants us to share with one another the love of Jesus Christ not only around the table and feast we will share downstairs in the fellowship hall, but more importantly the feast we share in a few moments from the altar of Jesus Christ true Body and Blood.  When we share the love of Jesus Christ with each other and allow this to fill our cups  to overflowing, we no longer focus on what ‘drives us nuts’ or ‘worries us’, but look past the faults, the things we have no control over and we are empowered to love as Jesus Christ first loved us.

This is the good work in our baptism that Jesus Christ wants us to share with one another.  Jesus Christ is calling us to share this with each other every day of our lives especially when we gather here to celebrate our Thanksgiving feast, but more so His Hoy Supper that gives us the forgiveness of sins and life and salvation.  For when we share the grace of God with one another in this meal, we fulfill Paul’s final statement from our text.  Paul says, “having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ” we no longer will see the faults of others, but share in the fruit which God gives us in the Holy Sacrament we share from around the altar, the meal of salvation of His Body and Blood offering us eternal life.

Then when we gather downstairs or around our family tables at Thanksgiving we can with one another remember God’s gifts given to us and give thanks and praise as we gather together as brothers and sisters in Christ.  We gather today offering our prayers of thanksgiving and can clearly see and share the blessings of the grace of God offered on the Cross of Calvary for all of mankind.  Especially all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel ready to share in the feast Jesus Christ offers us from the altar of His Body and Blood and with one another downstairs as we celebrate the fruits that God has entrusted to us and we share with one another of the grace of Jesus Christ with all of mankind.  AMEN.

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