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Monday, September 19, 2016

09182016 - 17th Sunday After Trinity - Apostle's Creed - "Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary"

September 18, 2016
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary
Last week, I made the statement that we are at a precipice, we have to choose Whom we will serve, either God or Man.  From the expressions on a number of faces, it was a message that was like some of the military campaigns of the 21st Century, “Shock and Awe”.  Yet, my goal was to stir us to choose God over what man offers us daily and even what we encounter in our daily walk.
Today we live in a clear time of doubt.  Look at the windows boarded up on the West side of the church.  How will we replace them?  How will we pay for the damage done to the roof over our heads?  Will corn prices rise or fall?  Will we have a job after the election?  Will the election be peaceful?  This doubt is exactly where some of us live.  Satan not only enjoys our ‘doubt’, but encourages it and has been doing so since the Garden of Eden.  Remember his query of Adam and Eve in the Garden, ‘Did God really say you would die, if you ate from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?’
The fear and doubt created by Satan in our daily lives not only attempt to pull us away from God, but to reorient our lives away from trust in God to doubting both God’s existence and God’s willingness to die for us.  This is why we need to lay claim to our confession of the Apostle’s Creed and come, hear and receive God’s promises weekly and partake of His Sacraments that He offers us from His altar.
In the Apostle’s Creed, we not only confess our belief, but we name all three persons of the Holy Trinity.  And in the second Article we began last week we confess, “And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord”.  Today we like an onion created by God add another layer not of complexity, but of truth when we boldly confess about Jesus Christ, “Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary”.
Today our culture dislikes and even turns judgmental and political when we talk about babies in the womb.  Legislation and legalities when someone who is pregnant is killed, making a decision whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, not only litter our landscape, but even impact relationships between family and friends.  But the reality is, what we confess in our Apostle’s Creed is not only language about life, but clearly that the life of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ is not only “conceived” from God, “by the Holy Spirit”, but Jesus Christ was “born of the Virgin Mary”.
Our Confession of faith is not only meant to be a ‘doctrinal’ or ‘belief’ statement, but it is meant as a life statement for we who gather here.  For when we confess that Jesus Christ, “Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary” our confession is a statement that gives us life and can give it to us abundantly.
Recent events with ISIS, Columbine or Aurora clearly stick in our minds.  Individuals’ because of their confession were slain because of their bold confession, but this is our earthly life.  In that moment they entered eternal life, a life that never ends all because they confessed Jesus Christ not only as their Lord and Savior, but the meaning found in our confession in the Apostle’s Creed that Jesus Christ was “conceived”, was “born” and is their Lord and Savior.
Is this a test for us today?  No, its not meant to feel or be a test for us today.  But when we confess the Apostle’s Creed, we clearly and unmistakably bind ourselves to the bold confession not only from history, but for us and the church today.  We confess clearly and emphatically our belief in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and how God is working in and through each of us today.
This last week, the latest Captain America movie entitled, “Civil War” came out digitally and on video.  Michele and I were unable to watch it in the theater.  Having a very active 7 year old daughter we chose to spend time with her rather than attend a movie.  In watching some of the featurettes the other night, I was struck by the clear choice that had to be made by each Avenger.  They had to weigh which ‘side’ they were going to not only serve, but fight for.  Yet what is interesting is that their choice was more about ideology and their personal beliefs about a system that was being imposed upon them by the world leaders rather than their personal choice and the ability to choose when or when not to use their talents.
Translate that for us who gather here today.  Today we gather as the body of Christ, the church. Thursday we were battered by the storms of life.  Yet, we came together as a church and community and rallied together.  We should rally to work with our neighbors next door or across the street, our friends across town who may have been impacted more and even people we do not know since we are the Body of Christ.  In this way we not only can do things together, not holding the past over anyone, nor being reminded of it, but living humbly as the hands and feet of Christ here in Goodland. 
Today we join together to celebrate “Back to Church” Sunday in order to be the Church of Jesus Christ..  We began our worship by praying for people in our church who are in need for our prayer.  We sang that “We have a friend in Jesus”.  And we have heard how we make a choice in our confession about Jesus Christ.  Let’s not only welcome everyone, but clearly confess our belief in Jesus Christ.  For Jesus Christ is our God and we are His people that confess Jesus Christ “Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary”.  AMEN.

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