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Friday, May 19, 2017

05142017 - Fourth Sunday After Easter - "Receive the Word implanted in you which is able to save your souls"!

May 14, 2017
“Receive the Word implanted in you which is able to save your souls (James 1:21)”
If you would look at all of human history to determine a thread that remains the same, the one thing that consistently remains is the oral word.  Whether told around the campfire, the hearth, to entertain or keep warm or a park bench to pass the time, the kitchen table with a meal or even today when families get together and remember the history that has formed and shaped generations, the oral word is how we communicate.  Recently the movie “Beauty and the Beast” showed that at one time, only the rich or highly educated were able to own books, but today with our phones, tablets, computers and the internet, everyone is capable of reading on the go, in planes, trains or automobiles.  Yet, when the first printing press was invented, the world began to change.  The word that had been spoken and which we pass down even today shows not only great value, but also the potential to either alienate or engage, and also the opportunity to enrich or definitely enjoy.
This morning here at Emmanuel, we have heard from a book of the bible that Martin Luther was not the biggest cheerleader of, whether the doctrine or the message.  But Luther still believed it should be a part of Holy Scripture.  The most iconic quote from the book of James is “Faith without works is dead” from James 2:26.  But James also has a meaning and purpose that in our reading this morning reveals not only the power of the Word of God, but its clear application for us today.
Last week we not only watched and participated in the next faith step of Olivia as she made public profession of her faith, the faith in which we baptize.  We acknowledged and confessed alongside her our firm conviction that the Word of God is not only powerful, but life changing.  James states and reaffirms this truth clearly when he wrote, “Receive the Word implanted in you which is able to save your souls”.
What we receive in the Word of God is the most precious, powerful and profound thing known in our universe.  When we receive the Word of God, we not only receive the book we know as the Holy Bible, we receive the Word made Flesh and Who dwelt among us, none other than Jesus Christ.  Our culture would like to claim Jesus as only a myth or as a prophet, but we receive more than a myth and more than a prophet, we receive from the lectern, the pulpit and especially when we read in our own homes the Word of God, we receive Jesus Christ, the Word.  And when we bring children for Holy Baptism, we confess and believe in His power.  For in our Baptism as James said it clearly, we “Receive the Word implanted in you which is able to save your souls”.  This is not only the capability of the Word of God, but the power that changes our individual and collective reality and promises us eternal life out of God’s love for each and every one of us.  And it begins with the oral word that we hear, heed and if we dare to change it or its meaning or application will deeply affect us and how we are seen and received and even our eternal destination.
Today we gather, as a church family honoring the Word of God, Jesus Christ, but we also honor and remember how one individual impacts each of our lives, this person is our Mothers.  Mother’s come in all shapes and sizes, have and provide us different ways of showing love and clearly have differing skills, but what does not change is that one woman whether by blood or by adoption, by circumstance or comfort, by impact or inspiration added value to our lives by the word they spoke to each and every one of us.
In 1994, the now iconic movie, “Forrest Gump” changed our cultural understanding of so many different ideals.  It wasn’t the typical ‘feel good’ movie, because it touched on issues like determination, bullying, war, relationships and even the most profound, love.  From the beginning of the movie sitting on a park bench, Forrest tells the story of his life.  One of the most tender moments in the movie comes, when Forrest is given the greatest and most profound wisdom by his Mother on her death bed.  She says, “Life is a box of chocolates, Forrest, you never know what you will get” and she continued, “I was destined to be your momma…and I did the best I could”.  And her parting words reach out to us today and resonate with what we have heard from James.  “You have to do the best with what God gave you”.

What we need to take away from this iconic movie, this passage from James as the message from God for us today is simply this.  God did not only the best He could, He, through His Son Jesus Christ fulfilled for each and every one of us what we could not.  Jesus Christ out of His love for us gives us the gift of eternal life.  And God in His infinite wisdom places people like our mothers and those who are like mothers in our lives to implant in us the Word of God.  For in our receiving the Word of God we receive the greatest gift known to mankind, Jesus Christ.  And in our receiving Jesus Christ we receive not just an abundant life in Him, but we receive eternal life in His Kingdom for all eternity out of His great love for each and every one of us.  May we daily remember our Mothers as God’s gift to us and understand and be able to repeat the truth, promise and testimony of Jesus Christ found of James that says, “Receive the Word implanted in you which is able to save your souls”.  AMEN.

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