S-1141 10/04/09 18SAP/3B Hymns: (O) #370; #39; (S) #123 (C) #LWML Hymn
Texts: Genesis 2:18-25; Hebrews 2:1-13; Mark 10:2-16
Theme: “A Helper fit for the Church” (Genesis 2:18).
Question: “Have you been called upon to help someone?” SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, 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: “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’” (Genesis 2:18).
Saints in Christ, throughout all of my life I needed help. When I was born, I needed help to be fed and cared for. As I grew up, I needed help to read and write. Coming to the States, I needed help in learning the English language, using the currency, and mastering living in this free society. I needed help to drive a car. When I got married, I needed help from my wife to raise our children. At the seminary, I needed help in learning Greek, writing sermons and using computer. In every stage of life, we all have a need from some help.
As we read the account of Moses today, it becomes evident that God sees the need of Adam before Adam knew he needed a helper. The need is found in the statement “It is not good for the man to be alone”. In that Creative story, we see that our God is a helping God who desires what is good and grand for Adam and all mankind.
At the risk of getting too much flack from my gender brethren, no kidding! Sure, we think that we are just fine on our own. We think that life would be grand if we didn’t have to deal with some of the issues that come with the creation of woman. But these are nothing other than foolish bravado and macho ignorance. Without that suitable helper, the world might just well have the appearance and aroma of a football locker room or a hunting lodge on the second week of deer camp! Without that helper the world would come to an end. Intellectual, emotional and spiritual honesty require us to admit that God was right, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”
And God went to work on that right away. I will make a helper suitable for him." There was no helper among the beasts of the field or the birds of the air. And lonely Adam was not going to just get any helper, any partner. The Lord God would make one perfectly fit for Him and like him. The long parade of animals to be named wasn’t a talent search for a helper for Adam. Rather it was a clear indication that not just any helper would do. There would be that special creation that would fit the bill.
And, from his own flesh and bone, the man received that special gift. In this we see that the helper is part of the man, made for the man, to be a blessing for the man. The woman was taken and formed out of the very same substance of man. She is not taken from the head, where she would rule over the man. She is not taken from the foot, so that she can be trampled upon. Nor is she simply cloned in a way to be just like the man. No, in a stroke of Divine wisdom, the woman, this helper, this gift from God is taken from his side. The woman is not a carbon copy or a master or a slave. She is a helper fit for him.
This taking and fashioning also denotes a relationship. The man’s response makes this very clear. This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman’, for she was taken out of man. The woman that the Lord had formed out of man’s very being is to be part and parcel of the man. It is out of this relationship that man’s loneliness is overcome. And it is overcome by placing a counterpart, a compliment, a completion right by his side. We call this blessed gift marriage.
As you observe and attend weddings, our Lord reminds us again that it is not good for man to be alone. So God joined, at his side a helper fit for him. Not just any helper. Not just a convenient helper. No, that helper was fit for him. Fit to stand by his side from that day forward, until death parts them.
But alas, there are those in our world who would tell you that you don’t need that helper. There will be those who tell you that you can go it alone. You do quite well on your own thank you. But the Word of God still rings true. It is not good for the man to be alone. There are also those in our world today that tell us that just any helper will do. It doesn’t have to be that specially created one. In their minds, Adam’s helper could have just as well been Steve instead of Eve. But God’s Word still rings true. “I will make a helper suitable for him.” Man and woman have been created to be complementary parts, not interchangeable parts. We have been specifically and specially designed by God Himself to fill these rolls. To think or practice otherwise is challenged not only by biology and physiology, but also by the clear Word of God! Think about this: Without that suitable helper, without that one flesh relationship, there would be no generations to follow. And without those generations to follow, there would be no Savior born to a virgin named Mary who was also a suitable helper to a man named Joseph. Without that original suitable helper, and without that One Flesh, there would be no manger, no cross, and no empty tomb. In short, there would be no salvation! PAUSE.
Man and woman have been given to one another for a purpose. That purpose is to give glory to God. A Christian man married to a Christian woman, becoming one flesh and raising Christian children is one of the greatest praises the Lord can receive. It is there that this Genesis 2 relationship is repeated. It is there that another generation is taken from their cradle, to the font, from the font to the rail, from the rail to the grave and from the grave to eternity. All of this is carried out by the Christian dad and Christian mom.
This relationship also happens in the Church. God in His Word has assigned the task of Word and Sacrament ministry to the man. For millennia, men have to one degree of faithfulness or another, proclaimed the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have baptized and communed. They have ordained and organized. But God’s Word has remained true. It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.
In the Scriptures we meet faithful helpers like Mary and Martha, Priscilla and Phoebe. These faithful women have played the helper role in the progress of the message of salvation. There have been times when it was the women who carried the day for the Gospel. God’s suitable helpers have sustained the church.
On this weekend, we here in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod pause for a moment to thank our Lord God for continuing the practice of providing helpers suitable for the Church. This weekend we thank God for the on-going ministry of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. The LWML is the official auxiliary organization for women in the LCMS. In a way, they are the suitable helper for our church! These women, through their faithful service to the Lord and in the gathering of their Mighty Mites, have been that helper that is suitable for the Church. There are many congregations across this Synod who at times in their existence were sustained by the ministry of these suitable helpers for the church.
And they continue to serve in this capacity even today. This past summer the LWML women in convention committed to collect some $1.8 million dollars in mites, that’s nickels, dimes, quarter and the occasional folding money, to mission projects here in this country and in distant places around the globe. Just think about that! These suitable helper, are God’s gift to the Church, and come from every walk of life, young and old, white and black, red and yellow. While not taking the Gospel directly, are making it possible for the mission of the Church to move forward. They are a perfect complimentary part to the Church. And today, we are thankful to God for them!
You see, the Church, like Adam is not alone. The Lord has created faithful helpers that are most suitable. These helpers are used by God Himself to be the ones who nurture and nourish, support and sustain, work and witness through good times and bad.
It is not good for us to be alone. This is true of Man. It is true of the Church. Man needed a helper not only to compliment his life, but to save him from his sins. And the Lord, Jesus Christ came from heaven to be the helper for mankind. The help that Jesus offered wasn’t in the creation of another being to stand by the man, but by offering His life on the wooden beam of the cross. There on that cross the greatest help that man needed was offered. Because of Christ’s death and glorious resurrection, help came to man—forgiveness of sins, peace, life, salvation, faith and the Holy Spirit. The Lord has indeed been good to both man and the Church. For faithful helpers who bring comfort and consolation and yes, even at times the cross, we hear God’s clear word. It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. And in response, God’s people say. Thanks be to God! AMEN.
Now the peace…