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Monday, January 19, 2015

01182015 Second Sunday After Epiphany

Gospel Audio
Sermon Audio

January 18, 2015
God covers us up!
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.

            For Christmas Sarah was given by Michele’s parents a 21st Century set of children’s tinker toys.  These are not like the ones I grew up with that were wooden.  Michele and I kid each other, because they remind us of the model sets we would build chemical structures with in Chemistry that had many angles and the potential for many different variations.  The modern set not only are made of plastic, but they are much larger and can build structures taller structures than even me.  Well, like all kids, Sarah loves playing with them.  She has the potential to build almost any structure that she wants or her imagination can dream up. 
On the box there are four or five different structures that they show, so while my parents were here, Sarah wanted Bop-Pop, my Dad, to help her build.  Needless to say, we built, took apart and rebuilt quite a few times in the next couple of days.  But one of the most intriguing parts was that with every structure we built, it needed a covering.  Just like the Indian sweat lodges that would have the hides from animals to cover it to keep the cold out in winter, Sarah needed a covering for the structures we had made.
            So with every structure we found blankets and covered the structure to make a place for Sarah to hide and play and she loved it.  This was a place where Sarah could pretend, move around in and hide where she not only felt safe and protected, but was a special place made especially for her by her Bop-Pop, but also me her Father.
            Today in our Old Testament lesson, we encounter the story of Moses asking to see God and being covered by God the Father.  Unlike the blankets we used on Sarah’s tinker toys, God in a conversation with Moses didn’t put something as simple as a blanket over Moses, God used His own hand.  God in a divine and very profound way revealed Himself to Moses, but was protecting Moses, not from something evil, but from what would kill him, seeing God face to face.  The potential of seeing God’s face was the main reason God wanted to clearly protect Moses, but also honor Moses request to see God’s Glory.  For if anyone were to see God’s face, whether by accident or on purpose, they would die.  And God didn’t want Moses to die.  God had so much more for Moses to accomplish.
            But not only was it the protection God gave Moses, God’s covering shielded Moses from God’s identity.  How often do we do that as well with family, friends, coworkers or even here in the church?  We don’t open up or show our true nature because we are afraid of being hurt or revealing to much of our inner selves.  Whether it is by the clothes we wear the brash way we treat people or even as subtly of our not coming to church, because we might encounter a person that hurt us or treats us as a lower class citizen.  We try and protect ourselves. 
Yet, God’s protection of Moses is different.  God was not only trying to keep Moses alive, but allow Moses to be the one person who would have seen God.  Granted it was only His back, but for Moses to see even God’s back was more than had been seen since Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
But a bigger question for us today is for what reason had this happened?  Simply it was because Moses had found favor in God’s sight.  Moses clearly had found great favor from the God of the universe.  Not only did God know Moses name, God was making a covenant promise with Moses and the people of God that He would be with them.  God would go with the people of God and even distinguish them, claim them and reveal Himself to them.  And the first step was with Moses.
So profound is this revelation that truly it was not fully fulfilled until Jesus Christ entered in the manger in Bethlehem.  For when Jesus Christ was born in the manger, God’s Glory in His Son was fully revealed for all of mankind.  Not only in the manger, but also in the Jordan River that we celebrated last week with Jesus baptism.  When the people heard God’s voice and saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus in the form of a dove, God’s glory was fully revealed for everyone who witnessed it.  And the moment when Jesus Christ hung on the Cross of Calvary and uttered the words, “It is finished”, the plan of salvation was fully complete.  After having seen the face of the Son of God, we now through our baptism are covered by the grace God first offered Moses, by God’s hand, but now each of us in, through and by our baptism into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection are covered by God, not only by His Hand, but by His Son Jesus Christ when we celebrate and remember those events even 2000 years later. 

For the sins of mankind and each of us gathered here were fully atoned by Jesus Christ and we now have been covered by God’s grace freely given for all of mankind.  This is the gift we are offered and freely given and how we now are covered by God and forgiven.  For through Moses, Jesus and our baptism, we have found favor in God’s sight.  We have been covered by not only God’s Holy Hand, but by His Son Jesus Christ and we now find true favor and forgiveness with and from God.  This is not for a select few, but for all of mankind, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel who will partake of His precious Body and Blood, given and shed for all of us for the forgiveness of sins and be covered by the grace of God through and by Jesus Christ.  This is God’s gift for each and every one of us gathered here today covered by His gift of grace, His Son, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

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