Searching for....

Sunday, June 18, 2017

06182017 - 1st Sunday After Trinity - “God is love, we who abide in love, abide in Him (1 John 4:16)”

June 18, 2017
“God is love, we who abide in love, abide in Him (1 John 4:16)”
Recently in Minnesota, a clergy friend of mine was presented with the most divine and honorable privilege and challenge.  On December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, numerous ships were damaged or destroyed and many lives were lost.  For those who have visited Pearl Harbor’s National Park monument it is a clear reminder of the scope of loss and how some individuals’ remains were not recovered and how some individuals upon their passing wish to return to be with their shipmates as a final resting place.
Now decades later, a young man killed that day whose remains were found, but never identified, finally with today’s technology was identified.  He was from Minnesota and his name was Glaydon Iverson.  He was killed on that faithful day aboard the USS Oklahoma.  And only last month was finally able to be returned to his family.  After years of uncertainty for the family he was finally able to be laid to rest back home at Emmons Lutheran church in Minnesota.  He was honored and given the burial in his hometown with full military honors that his family desired surrounded by his community and especially his church.
Some would ask, why does God allow things like Pearl Harbor to occur?  Others would immediately ‘get angry’ and ‘blame God’ for everything that is happening in life.  Whether the tragic loss of life during war, the weather that causes roofs, windows and siding to be replaced, like last fall here in Goodland, hail storms that mow crops to the ground or moisture that comes at the wrong time and causes not just Plan B, but even Plan C.
Easily, we could blame God for everything, because He is the one Who created the World.  Yet, what we at times forget is that we who live today cannot ‘buy and sell’ God like a possession or commodity, nor can we gain His favor nor get what we want all the time.  We like the VBS theme for the pre-school a few years ago, need to Fully Rely On God.
How can we do this?  It takes our exercising our muscles of faith given in Holy Baptism and listening to and leaning fully on the words from John the evangelist this morning.  John wrote this eternal truth we need to remember and hold onto dearly and clearly, “God is love, we who abide in love, abide in Him (1 John 4:16)”. When we understand “God is love”, we can clearly understand that God as love has our best interest in mind in all situations even though it may not seem that way at the time.
Daily we encounter situations where it seems the world is against us, we are lost and we are easily angered at our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and even at God.  But God’s love not only can sustain us, but enable us to understand, when the world seems to be crashing down around us, God is still there, loving us, walking with us and holding us clearly and dearly in the palm of His Holy hands.
Abram, from our Old Testament lesson this morning, shows and demonstrates clearly this faith and the exercising of this faith in God and God’s love for him.  What occurred in Abram’s exercising his faith?  God when Abram exhibited and put his faith in God, God “reckoned it to him as righteousness”.  So if we like Abram believe in God with our whole heart, we to not only will be embraced by God’s love, but “we who abide in love, abide in Him”.  And with our ‘abiding in love’ and ‘abiding in Him’ God will not only embrace us, but when it is our time to enter the church triumphant, we will be welcomed into eternity and fully embraced by the love of God that we find in what His Son, Jesus Christ willingly did on the Cross of Calvary for each and every one of us.
Today on this Father’s Day, there is for us a final example and demonstration of love for one’s fellow man from that faithful day in December when so many lost their lives.  The Chaplain on the USS Oklahoma Father Aloysius H. Schmitt was also tragically killed, but during the recovery after, they found him and his chalice and Latin Prayer book.

Father Schmitt unlike most individuals was alive and tried to escape.  Father Schmitt demonstrated the love of God for us by his willingness to when he could not escape from the ship, he out of his love for his fellow man helped at a bare minimum 12 men to get to safety with his blessing before succumbing to the watery grave.  It is clear his faith in the love of God and His Savior, Jesus Christ sustained him and is a beneficial and clear example for each and every one us of faith active in love.  For the page in his prayer book from that faithful morning was a final word through him to us today from Psalm 8:1.  David wrote, “O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Thy name in all the earth.”  Hence why today on this Father’s Day, when we celebrate Father’s who willingly sacrifice themselves for their families,  we clearly declare, not only that God’s name is majestic, but with a firm faith that “God is love, [and] we who abide in love, abide in Him.”  AMEN.

Check out Pastor on the Prairie (ProtP)
Subscribe to ProtP

//trial script