S-1129 7/12/09 6SAP/3B Hymns: (O) #33; (S) #279; L.S. #384; #199; #339; (C) #360
Texts Amos 7:7-15; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29
Theme: “A Walk Down Memory Lane” (Mark 6:26)
Question: “Have you ever said, “Remember when…?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, Faith, SF, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation this morning is the Gospel lesson: “And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her” (Mark 6:26).
Saints in Christ, in the last 20 years there has been a great transformation in this country. We have gone on an exercise kick. Many people are into fitness. Exercise is part and parcel of our daily lives. Many belong to gyms and work-out places. Others have exercise equipments in their homes or apartments. All of this is good for the body.
Today, I want to have you join me in keeping this trend going—exercising too. Now, now, don’t get to upset with me. I am not going to ask you to do a five K run, or go on the bicycle route for miles. I am, though, going to ask you to Walk Down Memory Lane with me.
Are you ready? Are you ready for your exercise? (Put your hands up). Now take a few moments and walk down memory lane. (Give them a little time to do this blessed event).
I, too, have walked down memory lane. Permit me to share with you some of what I thought about. I remember vividly the day I stood in front of the Church and my lovely bride dressed in white walked down the aisle with her father wearing a big smile on her face. I remember well, the day she whispered in my ears, “We are going to have a baby!” I remember when she took my hand and put it on her tummy and said, “Feel your child!” I remember the day my children were born, their baptism day, confirmation day and their wedding day. I remember also when they announced saying, “You are going to be a grandfather” and oh, how I remember when the phone call came from my son, “Ba, we have a baby boy!” What wonderful memories flood my mind.
But there are other memories—memories that I am ashamed of. Memories of word spoken in anger, deeds done for selfish reasons, hurting and harming others because of sin. Memories of dishonoring my Lord by sinning against His Word and my neighbor. These are painful memories. I wish they were not there. I wish I could remove them. I wish I would have not remembered them. But alas they are. And the devil uses these memories to depress and discourage us in our walk of faith. PAUSE.
The brain is a wonderful gift from God. It is like a DVD that plays scene after scene of the events in our lives. Some of these events are pleasant and others are painful.
In the text before us today, Mark invites us to walk down memory lane the lane of King Herod. His memory is plaguing him by his extraordinary sin. His memory is haunting him, depressing him and accusing him.
King Herod was a man who took delight in the extraordinary. He liked listening to John the Baptist, this figure from the past who had visions of future events. Even though Herod listened to him, but his wife Herodias hated him, and thus the order came when at a birthday party Herod promised her daughter a stupid promise saying, “Ask whatever you want even up to half of my kingdom and I will give it to you.” We know the cost of this stupid promise. The young dancer asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.
Now that Jesus is on the scene, Herod hears of Him and what He is doing. And his mind quickly walks down memory lane. He is haunted by what he did to John and is afraid. He is worried that John had been raised from the dead. He is distracted and distraught over the facts of what John might do to Him.
I am sure Herod would rather not remember the day he gave the order, to cut John’s head off and bring on a platter for all to see. I am certain Herod lost a lot of sleep because of what he had done.
How many times are we like Herod? At times we walk down memory lane too. Our memory is like a DVD. It plays the sins of the past over and over again and we are haunted by that demon. We are troubled and tossed by what we have said and done. And we wish we didn’t have to go through it. We wish we have never done it. We wish we could remove the evil that the devil brings against us as he uses the good gift of memory to accuse us before the Lord.
Memory is indeed a good gift from God. The good memories we like, but the bad and painful are not welcome. And we want relief. We want to get rid of them. We want to erase them from our memory bank. We can’t do it. We can try all we want to, just like Herod but to no avail. So what should we do? Should we continue to dwell in the past, or look to the future? The devil of course always want to keep us in the past those “good old days”. But those “good old days” are not always that good. And no one knows that more than you.
But thanks be to God that Jesus has the remedy to our memories. It is not a rewind button, but a delete button. It is not a storage button, but a salvation button. It is not overlooking the problem of sin, but taking care of sin once and for all. The Lord Jesus Christ, whom we have heard about, is the One who has removed those sins and dropped them into the depth of the sea. Jesus’ blood shed on the cross of Calvary is the reason our memories don’t haunt us. Jesus not only speaks words of love, He is the Word of Love. And when He speaks and acts, the stain and stench of sin is removed from us.
Remember Good Friday? That is the answer to our sin problem. We gather in God’s house week after week so that we can be reminded of the goodness of the Lord and the gracious acts that He does for us.
Remember Easter morning? That is the answer to our death problem. When Christ broke the bars of death He opened the flood gates. There will be generations more pouring out of the grave into the blessing of Eternity!
Remember your baptism? While you may have been really little when it happened, and you don’t remember it, but God does. His promise is real: “Baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21). And at that moment, all that Jesus had done became yours; just as He did this evening to Myles David Nour in the waters of Baptism. In the waters of Baptism, Jesus removes every hindrance of sin from Myles’ life and gives him the white robes of righteousness and marks him as one of His own for time and for eternity. PAUSE... The same thing happened for you. In that baptismal act of God, your memory is purged of all the “Herod moments” in your life. They have been washed away! Cleansed! GONE!”
Remember Maundy Thursday? There in a room full of ignorance and betrayal, Jesus remembers the 12 and us by giving us the very forgiveness of sins in His Body and Blood to purge our memory. When we are at this table we remember just how Awesome He is when He gives us even more of that precious grace!
Unlike Herod who made a stupid promise that he couldn’t keep, Jesus keeps all of His promises. He doesn’t promise us only half of His Kingdom, but He gives us all of His Kingdom. The Kingdom is ours because in love He died for us and has given us heaven by removing everything that may keep us out.
But at times we forget how generous our Awesome God is. We forget that He has removed our sins. He has cleansed us! He has washed us! He has fed us! He has taken care of us! And He still does even today.
But today, as you walk down memory lane, remember the gift of the Savior who says to us “As far as the East is from the West; so far I have removed your transgression from you” (Ps. 103:12). Walking down memory is sometimes pleasant and sometimes painful. But for the Christian it is a joy because we remember what the Savior did through His death and glorious resurrection. Amen.
Now the peace… and blood for the forgiveness of sins.