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Monday, October 31, 2016

10302016 - Reformation - 23rd Sunday After Trinity - Apostle's Creed - "the Holy catholic church"

October 30, 2016
the Holy catholic church

In the Diary of Anne Frank, she unknowingly chronicled a history and has had an impact upon not only the history of the United States, but countless other young children who have read the diary she wrote.  As a high school 10th grader I read her diary and learned about her willingness to be open and vulnerable in the face of her circumstances of living in a time when the Nazi’s were inflicting their tyranny.  For Anne lived in an attic while her city endured the greatest tragedy of the 20th Century.
What I find redeeming as I think back to reading her diary is how Anne’s simple narrative chronicled not the loss of life, but the joys of simple confessions that she thought would only be read by her.  But ironically has been shared after her death, across Europe, the Atlantic and especially across the world.
This morning like Anne, we come to celebrate and confess a simple phrase in the Apostle’s Creed.  We confess, the Holy catholic church.  You see, 499 Years ago tomorrow, Martin Luther with hammer and nails pounded the 95 Theses on the door at Wittenberg, a catholic Church.  Father Martin Luther, then a monk of the Augustinian order was following the habit of the day to post on the church door items or concerns that he believed needed discussed or debated.  And this was common practice, it was in one sense a ‘public bulletin board’ for the community.  For in that time, everyone went to church, not just on Sunday’s, but sometimes even daily for mass and private confession, but more importantly to come and worship God as not only was the custom, but the tradition passed down from the Old Testament, but also even Jesus ministry of attending the synagogue daily for prayer.
When Martin Luther pounded his theses on the door at Wittenberg it was in the hopes of helping the Church to reform and return to the Gospel and what we confess today, the Holy catholic church.  For in our confession today here in the Church, we are not a ‘big C’ Catholic, but a ‘small c’ catholic.  What is understood to be the ‘universal’ Church.
Many times I have been asked, why do we say, catholic at all?  Simply it is because we confess the faith of the small “c” catholic or ‘universal’ Church.  For the universal church simply has as its core confession what Jesus Christ did on Calvary for all of mankind.  This is the free gift God offers out of His great love for us and which not only binds us together, but unites us as the Holy catholic church.
So why is there division, hatred and even ill words that have destroyed families and even caused individuals to leave organized religion or remove themselves out of protection?  Simply it is because we, all of humanity are born and conceived in sin and our sin comes out and divides us.  We hold it over one another and refuse to let go of bitterness and hatred and our own plotting, because we believe we are right.
Thom Rainer said recently, “Many churches have more self-inflicted wounds than external injuries.”  I believe Thom is right and the best case in point is Martin Luther.  For when Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses, with every blow of the hammer, Martin Luther unknowingly was kindling a fire in the Church catholic which would lead to the largest split of the church and which still is impacting us today.
What is God calling us to?  Like Martin Luther to return to the central message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and confess our faith in the Holy catholic church.  This is our calling as Christians, but also as one’s who confess, not only Jesus Christ as Lord, but with our confession of the Apostle’s Creed.
We do this in three distinct ways.  First by unconditionally loving one another as the the Holy catholic church.  We have the opportunity to love everyone, even if we disagree with them and have at times been hurt by them, whether intentionally or unintentionally.  Second we can forgive as Christ forgives us in the Holy catholic church.  We are called to forgive, for if we do not forgive one another from the heart, how can we expect Jesus Christ to forgive us if we hold things against one another.  And finally we are called to build and create unity in the Holy catholic church.  The unity we need to build and rebuild comes simply not only by our confession of the Apostle’s Creed and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ, but in our intentionally being united in purpose and mission of the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for all of mankind.
We may never see the results, but instead of kindling a fire or kindling dissension, distrust and disease in the church or the membership, which is against God’s sole intent to unite us in the Holy catholic church, we can be changed and empowered to love one another.  For in our united confession of the Holy catholic church we then thwart division and instead unite behind the Holy catholic church.
A perfect example of this unity comes from a woman in the Bible.  Queen Esther for whom the book of Esther is written united God’s chosen people to do a simple task, to pray that not only God’s will would be completed, but His Glory would be revealed and she would be used to ‘make a difference’.  For without Queen Esther and her willingness to go to her husband and make the bold request to save God’s chosen people, history would have been different than we know it today.  We to can make that difference.

So to Martin Luther with his nailing the 95 Theses on the door at Wittenberg had one intent in mind to turn the ship of the church around.  To unify the Church ‘small c’ catholic and return to the sole intent of Jesus and the clear proclamation of the Gospel.  For the Gospel is what unites us and enables us to confess with the whole Church on earth and the hosts of heaven the Apostle’s Creed and our belief in the Holy catholic church.  AMEN.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

10232016 - 22nd Sunday After Trinity - Apostle's Creed - "I believe in the Holy Spirit."

October 23, 2016
I believe in the Holy Spirit,

Growing up in the Bible Belt of the South, you easily find in most every town a Baptist Church on one corner, a Pentecostal church down near the creek and a Methodist or Episcopal church usually in town.  To find either a Catholic or Lutheran Church meant you had to drive sometimes an hour or more one way.  But what was very clear if you attended any of these churches no matter the name the Holy Spirit was working.  As a child I remember attending an African American church that clearly would call upon the Holy Spirit during the service, because the people believed in the clear and manifest work of the Holy Spirit.  They would shout from the pew, ‘preach it’, ‘Amen’ and other acclamations of praise.  For some of us this would be seen as rude and disconcerting, but these people would not just hear the Word of God, they would let the Word of God inspire them to speak and in one sense cheer on the preacher and this was a strongly conservative Lutheran Church.
At our latest LCMC Convention in Denver, Rev. Ebassa Berhanu preached the opening worship.  Though born in Africa he grew up in his formative years in Minnesota.  Not only have I met him, but attended many meetings with him.  When we would sit around the table talking, he is very reserved, very soft spoken and very quiet and introspective.  But Sunday October 2, 2016, Ebassa didn’t speak with timidity or lack of conviction.  Ebassa was given a gift that we confess in the Apostle’s Creed.  For nearly 30 minutes, Ebassa not only engaged, but mesmerized and inspired many in the audience.  He not only preached the Word of God and the purity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but simply allowed himself to be led, inspired and emboldened to preach by the power of the Holy Spirit on him and his message.  Many people I talked with afterwards, who watched whether in person or on the internet agreed even three weeks later, Ebassa was on fire with the Holy Spirit.
You see, today we turn a page in our confession of the Apostle’s Creed.  We have talked in the last 7 weeks specifically of the Father Who Created the heavens and the earth.  Declared that Jesus Christ the Second Person of the Holy Trinity came down to earth and walked among us, healed many people, but ultimately was crucified, died, was buried, but rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.  And boldly confessed Jesus Christ will come again as we said last week to judge between the living and the dead.  And today as we turn the page, we now move to the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit.
We confess, I believe in the Holy Spirit,”.  Our confession of the Holy Spirit is a simple, yet powerful acclamation that the same Spirit that inspired people to shout ‘Amen’ or inspires a preacher to speak with clear boldness and authority like Ebassa did at the convention, is the same Holy Spirit that we believe in and boldly claim today with our confession of I believe in the Holy Spirit,.
Martin Luther who pounded the 95 Theses on the door at Wittenberg almost 499 years ago in his Small Catechism makes a bold assertion of what not only belief in the Holy Spirit means, but how it applies to each of us today.  Luther writes in his explanation of the Third Article of the Apostle’s Creed, “What does this mean? I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.
You see this same Holy Spirit that is not only the Third Person of the Holy Trinity is directly responsible for our faith.  Luther says even our ‘reason or strength’ cannot be used to believe in what Jesus Christ did on the Cross of Calvary.  Unlike other churches, Luther says we cannot believe without the divine Work of the Holy Spirit.  For “the Holy Spirit has called [me/us] by the Gospel”.  The Holy Spirit breaks through our at times hard outer shell that we put on like a coat to protect us from the cold winds of Western Kansas, but the Holy Spirit cuts through all layers and powers that we think we have in order to ‘call each and every one of us by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.’
When we confess, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” we believe the Holy Spirit is not only the Third Person of the Divine Trinity, but the Holy Spirit calls each of us with the Gospel.  For in this call, we receive the proclamation of God of the forgiveness of sins and life and salvation.  We hear the sweetest story ever told that changes our eternal destination.  For it is through and by the Holy Spirit that the Holy Spirit, “enlightens [me/us] with His gifts and kept [me/us] in the true faith.”  This is the gift of God our Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and by the divine Work of the Holy Spirit the gift that is offered unto us when we confess, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,”.
Yet you might ask, I don’t feel any different, I don’t understand how this can occur for me here in Goodland, KS?  Six years ago today in this very sanctuary, I took my ordination vows and publically accepted the yoke of responsibility signified by the stole as the Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church.  I say this not, and let me repeat that, not to hold it over anybody, but simply because one person who was here that day felt how tangible the Holy Spirit was in our congregation of Emmanuel.
Jason Trupp who at that time was Pastor of the Four Square Church here in Goodland took part in my ordination reading one of the lessons.  After that day when meeting with other pastors here in town, Jason made not only an observation, but an acclamation of being able to see and feel the Work of the Holy Spirit here at Emmanuel at my ordination.  Not only in the ordination and installation, but Jason said the Holy Spirit’s presence was so tangible for him and his wife Beverly.  At that acclamation I agreed and said, yes it was present and we as the people of Emmanuel remember the Holy Spirit with a simple light fixture.

It’s not one of the lights out in the sanctuary proper that help you all to read the bulletin or sing the songs.  The Light that reminds us of what the Holy Spirit continues to do with our confession of “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” comes from the altar.  The eternal light is the beacon, the light in the darkness of our fallen world that daily reminds us of Gods continuing to walk with us in our walk of faith.  It is the reminder of how Martin Luther explained it in the Small Catechism.  Our belief in the power of the Holy Spirit Who still today inspires pastors to preach with vigor and vitality like Ebassa, but also the people of God to respond to God’s Work for us, in us and how the Holy Spirit keeps us in the true faith.  May we not only remember what the Holy Spirit does when we see the eternal light when we enter for worship or the darkened sanctuary at night, but believe and boldly confess with the entire church on earth, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,”.  AMEN.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

10162016 - 21st Sunday After Trinity - Apostle's Creed - "And He will come to judge the living and the dead."

October 16, 2016
And He will come to judge the living and the dead.

Last week we spoke clearly about the journey of the Christ Candle.  How it moves in a rhythmic dance from the floor of the sanctuary to the baptismal font and finally resting by the altar from where we receive the Sacrament of the Altar, Jesus Christ precious Body and Blood.  The Christ Candle is a symbol of our remembrance of where Jesus Christ ascends to and sits that is interesting and telling of Jesus future role.
Yes, I have multiple times spoken how the Old Testament people were looking forward for the coming Messiah.  From Adam and Eve in the Garden, through Moses and the prophets, the importance of the Passover feast and the Children of Israel leaving Egypt, King David and even in Malachi, how the people were yearly looking for the Messiah.  And how we today when talking about salvation history don’t look forward like in the Old Testament, but we look back to what Jesus Christ completed on the Cross of Calvary.  And why Jesus Christ ascension into heaven turned the page and ushered in a new era.  For only 10 days later after Jesus ascension into heaven, the Holy Spirit would descend upon the disciples and they would be emboldened to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Yet, for we who gather here today we look back and remember the fulfillment of all of scripture in Jesus Christ and how we confess the Apostle’s Creed that tells this story of salvation through Jesus Christ for all of mankind on the Cross of Calvary
Yet, Jesus Christ role was not complete.  Though Jesus Christ had ascended into heaven, the Second Article continues with a future in mind of what Jesus Christ would do.  Yes, Jesus Christ fulfilled salvation history on the Cross of Calvary and the gift of grace found in, through and by our baptism into His life, His death, but especially His resurrection.  But, Jesus Christ was not done.  For there is more to Jesus role and the story and why we continue when we confess, “And He will come to judge the living and the dead.
Our consistent confession of the Creeds puts the fear of God into some, because no one likes to be judged.  I don’t like it and I bet each of you don’t like it as well.  But Jesus Christ judgement is not an earthly judgement, but an eternal judgment that has as its standard, not the rules or by-laws of man, but the truth that is found in the Scriptures, the Word of God.  As Koehler states in his Catechism, “All will be judged according to God’s Word.  This Word is not the Law of God, for if Christ would judge us according to the Law, none of us could stand.  The Word that Christ has spoken is the Gospel, and each individual will be judged according to his attitude toward this Gospel, whether he believed it or not.” (p. 171-172, Q. 156.B.)  Therefore, our belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is central to the judgment we confess with, “And He will come to judge the living and the dead.
Jesus Christ sits on the throne of God the Father.  Unlike the throne in Game of Thrones or the recreations of what some believe King Arthur’s throne looked like or King David or King Solomon, the importance is not the throne of God, but what Jesus Christ will do.  From God’s perspective it is not a matter of ‘past, present or future’, but it is a matter of what Jesus Christ will do when God the Father decides as we confess that Jesus Christ “will come”.  Notice it is not if Jesus Christ will come, God is clear and we confess that Jesus Christ “He will come”.
Hence why we confess “And He will come to judge the living and the dead.”  This is not an decree, but a clear and emphatic fact that Jesus Christ is returning.  Jesus Christ is coming back and Jesus Christ has a job.  You see, Jesus didn’t ascend to heaven to rest for eternity.  Jesus Christ didn’t ascend into heaven without a purpose.  Jesus Christ ascended into heaven to intercede for us and so that he will return.  Not only to fulfill His Kingly Office, but as we confess, “And He will come to judge the living and the dead.”  But biblically there is clear evidence that Jesus did return after His ascension, but it wasn’t to fulfill our confession of this part of the creed.
Jesus returned after His resurrection and ascension, not to judge, but to speak directly into the life of one who was judging others.  Jesus Christ showed up on a road outside of the city of Damascus and spoke directly to the man then known as Saul.  You see Saul was not only judging Jews who had believed Jesus message, Saul was not only persecuting them, Saul was throwing them in jail and even killing people who were followers of Jesus Christ.  Saul was as Jesus said, persecuting those who believed in Jesus Christ.  Saul was judging the living and killing the ‘new followers’ of Jesus all in the name of the Jewish religion.
But Jesus Christ not only encountered Saul on the road to Damascus, but changed Saul’s heart and paradigm of faith and belief.  Jesus didn’t eternally judge Saul, but stated the facts of what Saul was doing and simply asked, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  And with this seven word sentence, Jesus Christ then revealed unto Saul the full revelation of Himself and that He, Jesus Christ was not eternally judging Saul, but was calling him, Saul, the enforcer for the Jews, to be on His team, to go on Jesus Christ mission for the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

So for we today here in Goodland, KS, what does it mean for us today?  We are a clear and direct descendent of Jesus Christ through the efforts of Paul and the other disciples.  When we confess “And He will come to judge the living and the dead.”  Our confession is with the understanding that Jesus Christ is calling us to be on His team as well.  For us to go on His, Jesus Christ mission to spread the Gospel.  Hence why we are Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.  For Jesus Christ “will come” in order to judge, both “the living and the dead”.  But Jesus Christ will judge us, with only one standard, and one criteria, do you believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  The Gospel Saul then named Paul would not only preach, proclaim but produce the largest part of our New Testament.  Do we believe that Jesus Christ died for all of mankind and offers the forgiveness of sins for everyone, whether murderer, adulterer or those who assault our character?  I personally do believe in the forgiveness Jesus Christ offers and this is why we join our voices together to boldly confess that Jesus Christ not only died for each and every one of us on the Cross of Calvary, but especially enabling each of us to confess boldly, “And He will come to judge the living and the dead.”  AMEN.

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Monday, October 10, 2016

10092016 - 20th Sunday After Trinity - Apostle's Creed - "He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty"

October 9, 2016
He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty

Last week we heard and confessed one of the least believed and most misunderstood parts to our confession of the Apostle’s Creed.  We confessed that Jesus Christ, Son of God, descended into Hell.  Hell is the eternal resting place of the devil and all those who follow and refuse to confess their sin and receive the forgiveness of God that He so freely offered with Jesus Christ willingness to go the Cross of Calvary.  But Jesus as the Son of God, not only overcame Hell but overcame death and the grave and rose from the dead.  Hence why we not only weekly confess a creed or common confession, whether the Apostle’s or Nicene Creed, but believe that the end of the story is not Jesus death on Calvary, but Jesus Christ resurrection on Easter Sunday and our weekly gathering to celebrate Jesus triumph.
For when Jesus Christ arose from the grave salvation history turns an important page.  The disciples formerly hiding behind locked doors afraid for the same fate, are now overjoyed, because Jesus has arisen.  Ironically the disciples don’t know for how long.  But like any home coming, the joy felt by the disciples must have been tangible.  Because now in their presence Jesus Christ is the resurrected Christ.
Since we can look back with a clarity that only comes with looking into the past, our eyesight is clear.  When we read the stories we know and believe that Jesus only had a limited time on earth after His resurrection.  This period is the great 40 days.  In Lutheranism 101 and the Gospel of Mark, we talk about this often of these 40 days, because at the end of them, a grand event will occur.
In the Second Article we confess, “He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty”.  We confess that Jesus Christ would after 40 days ascend.  Matter of fact here in our sanctuary we not only confess this truth, but our confession is backed up by some simple liturgical actions.
First our church has as our major focus, the altar, where we pray to God, but also receive the sacrament of Holy Communion.  Above that is our stained glass window of Jesus Christ that is so priceless.  Yet on the altar we have not only the candles we light to show God’s presence both for every service, but also for communion and next to the altar is one of the best teaching tools for the Apostle’s Creed.
Some call it the Pascal Candle others the Christ Candle, but this candle unlike most liturgical vessels does something uncommon.  It moves.  The movement that it does has a set pattern that daily reminds and teaches us where Jesus Christ is during each season of the church year.
Let’s start with Christmas Eve.  On Christmas Eve the Christ Candle is moved from the Altar where it is currently to the sanctuary floor of the church.  This signifies Jesus Christ birth in Bethlehem and His life here on earth among mankind.  The candle stays there until after Jesus death on Calvary for you and for me.
On Easter Sunday the Christ Candle moves next to the Baptismal Font as a bold confession by we the church of Jesus Christ that we in, through and by our baptism are connected for all eternity with Jesus Christ life, death and especially His resurrection.  Hence why we use a pall at funeral services to not only show our equality with one another, but it is the perfect reminder of God’s claiming us through Holy Baptism and our being claimed by Jesus Christ by Water and Word..
Then 40 days after the resurrection which comes on a Thursday, we celebrate what we continue to confess in the Apostle’s Creed.  We confess that Jesus Christ, “He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty”.  In these 16 words we then watch, see and more fully understand that the Christ Candle that had resided at the Baptismal font as a reminder of our baptism moves again in its journey to the altar. 
Liturgically the altar area is a reminder of heaven, since the altar is a symbol for the Ark of the Covenant, that Moses and the Children of Israel carried to the promise land.  For God’s Glory was revealed for the people in the Ark of the Covenant on the journey to the promise land until Solomon built the Holy Temple that Jesus would go to in Jerusalem.  And why when we not only confess Jesus Christ ascension, but His being seated at the right hand of God the Father it is in order for us to not only understand but believe that Jesus Christ continues to watch over us.
With our use of the Christ Candle, we not only teach more about Jesus Christ, but it solidifies our confession of the Apostle’s Creed and what it still means for us today.  If there is one thing that could be taken away from our confession of Jesus Christ and that “He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty”, it can simply be this, Jesus Christ sitting on the throne of God still is watching over us today.

You see, other churches believe the Holy Bible, but if a farmer only did the one action of planting the seed and expected it to grow overnight, it is pure fantasy.  We, the church, are on a journey here at Emmanuel.  We not only lay claim to the confession of the creeds, but we also clearly believe in Jesus Christ and that “He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty”.  Jesus Christ, Second person of the Trinity is watching us from heaven, interceding for us and sending the Holy Angels to guard and protect us daily.  For with our use of the Christ Candle, we make an acclamation of faith.  We make a connection not only with Jesus Christ ascension and sitting at the right hand of God, but with Jesus personally.  May we continue to connect with Jesus Christ and follow and believe our bold confession that “He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty”.  AMEN.

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

10022016 - 19th Sunday After Trinity - Apostle's Creed - "He descended into Hell. And the third day He arose from the dead."

October 2, 2016
He descended into Hell.  [And] The third day He arose from the dead,

Have you ever looked out in the middle of a storm that rolls through during the middle of the day?  When you look out you can’t see the sun.  The clouds surround and encase our world and are dark and ominous, it creates a clear sense of uneasiness.  It’s just not normal.  Fear overcomes us and the darkness that surrounds us can seem like it is smothering us.  For some winter, when the days are shorter and the darkness is pervasive can have the same affect or reaction.  In countries that are nearer the Arctic Circle, for both the North and South poles, when the days sunlight is limited the feeling of the darkness not only surrounds, but clearly oppresses life and the period of darkness seems to last forever.
Enter Jesus lifeless body hanging from the Cross on Calvary.  For the disciples there seems to be no hope.  Looking back as we do from over 2000 years later, we have a very different perspective, because we know Easter is coming.  Yet, for the disciples, they didn’t yet understand what Jesus had told them.  They did not fully understand that Jesus had to die, but that on the Third Day at sunrise the Son-S-O-N would rise.  On that day the Son of God, Jesus Christ would be resurrected.  For this is the promise that during our days of darkness we can not only lay claim to, but believe, because we have been baptized into Jesus Christ life, His death on Calvary, but especially His resurrection from the dead.  But a question still persists, what happened between Good Friday and Jesus death on the Cross and Easter Sunday?
In our series on the Apostle’s Creed we not only have the answer, but we weekly confess a truth that for some makes them scratch our collective heads not only in wonder, but trying to wrap our heads around a truth found in Holy Scripture.  Here in the Second Article that deals specifically with the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ, we confess that Jesus Christ did something extraordinary.
We confess, He descended into Hell.  [And] The third day He arose from the dead,  In these thirteen words we make the boldest confession of what Jesus Christ specifically did after His death.  Non-Christians would claim this is nothing but myth.  But all of Christianity believes and confesses that Jesus Christ descended into Hell.
With Jesus Christ descent into Hell and our confession of this some non-believers and even some Christians who have not been taught would believe that it was in order for Jesus to be punished.  Or that it was in order that Jesus Christ would suffer in Hell.  But this is farthest from the truth.  Jesus Christ “descended into Hell” for only one reason and purpose.  To simply proclaim the completion of His mission here on earth to come and offer life and salvation that was finished on Calvary for all of mankind and redeem us from the sin of the world.  Jesus Christ “descended into Hell” to proclaim the greatest victory of all time and all place.  Jesus Christ “descended into Hell” in order to enter the ‘stronghold’ of Satan and to proclaim the victory His death on Calvary won for all of mankind.  In essence, to ‘set the record straight’, to insure the truth of the Gospel that had been twisted by Satan and believed by those in Hell.  Jesus “descended into Hell” in order for those who were there to finally hear and understand the truth of the Gospel message.
Not only did Jesus descended into Hell” but as Paul Harvey used to say, ‘here’s the rest of the story’ that we confess.  “[And] The third day He arose from the dead,”.  With this bold confession we lay claim to one of the great mysteries of our world and Christianity that Jesus Christ told His disciples would occur.  Three days after Jesus Christ death, watched by not only His followers, those in the city, but especially His family including His own mother Mary, Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
The storm that had surrounded the city of Jerusalem and captured the hearts and minds of the disciples and Jesus family on Good Friday wasn’t just a memory.  The events of Easter morning of the rolling away of the stone, the grave cloths being neatly folded, the angels sitting on the stone telling that Jesus is not here put not just an exclamation point, but a clear and pure joy in every Christians heart.  When we confess, [And] The third day He arose from the dead,” this acclamation turns the table on Satan’s little jig from Good Friday that he danced on Calvary thinking Jesus was dead forever.  On Easter Morning, Jesus no longer was bound, but risen from the dead.  Jesus was the victor over the grave!
But, what does our confession of this mean for us today.  For some, even other Christians and even some Lutherans, view our use of the Creed as a rote process, just something we as Lutheran’s have to do, with no meaning and no feeling.  Other churches here in Goodland and across our country and world don’t confess the Creed weekly.  Personally, I am saddened by this fact and reality.  For what the Apostle’s Creed clearly and simply does is not only encourage us weekly, but instead of it being rote, our confession of the Creed for me is a comfort.  Not only a comfort, but our confession of He descended into Hell.  [And] The third day He arose from the dead, is a battle cry.  And there is one day that this battle cry takes new meaning and adds the greatest value not only to our lives but our worship.
You see our confession becomes our ‘battle cry’ because of what we do here at Emmanuel on Easter Sunday.  If you look over the last few years, we have consistently sung about what we confess and have heard about today.  We sing “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” and “Christ is Risen!  Alleluia” as a congregation, but even more poignant is what our choir sings.  We have sung a song inspired by our confession of He descended into Hell.  [And] The third day He arose from the dead,.  We sing the song entitled, “Christ Arose”.  So simple are the lyrics that begin with the darkness that surrounds the disciples of the storm that has raged, but so bold is the refrain and its confession not only with power and authority, but the clear and emphatic confession made that every time I hear it, my pulse quickens and my heart soars.  Listen to the refrain.
“Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes; He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever with His saints to reign; He arose!  He arose!  Hallelujah! Christ arose!”

You see Jesus Christ purpose was clear and purposeful to die on the Cross of Calvary in order that we might have eternal life.  When we boldly confess, the Apostle’s Creed we resonate, reaffirm and return to the truth found of what Jesus did on Easter morning.  This is our exclamation point that we boldly confess on Easter and every Sunday with the words of the Apostle’s Creed, He descended into Hell.  [And] The third day He arose from the dead,.  AMEN.

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//trial script