S-1146 11/15/09 (O) #5; (S) #514; (C) #412
Texts: Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-25; Mark 13:1-13
Theme: “Where IS God?” (Mark 13:5-9)
Question: “How often have you heard someone say ‘Where is God?” SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the Gospel lesson: “And Jesus began to say to them, ‘See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I Am He!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains. But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them.’” (Mark 13:5-9).
Introduction: In Nomine IESU
The pastor sat in his darkened office late on Saturday night and wondered why did God place him in this church? These people didn’t care for him, or his style of ministry. They didn’t long to hear the Word of God. They were apathetic to the message of the Gospel. They turned there noses on the gifts of the Altar. They didn’t want to be in God’s house. In the darkened office the pastor lifted up his head heaven-ward saying, “Where Is God?”
The couple sat in the delivery room. They held tightly their still-born child to their breast. As they clutched to their child that the mother carried for 9 months in her womb, they wept tears over this gift that was taken away from them. With tears streaming down their cheeks, they cried out, “Where Is God.”
The father along with his three young daughters stood by silently as they watched the coffin of his wife and their mother slowly lowered into the ground. The young lady had died abruptly from cancer at a very young age of 44. Her husband spoke softly, “Where Is God?”
In a world full of sadness and sorrow, troubles and tragedies, death and destruction, we at times ask the same question, “Where Is God?” God if you love me as you say then why am I suffering like this; why am I hurting like this; why do you allow these things to happen?
The question of where is God is a question that has been asked by people in the Church and outside the church. That question is asked when things are not going well. Hardly ever is asked when things are going well. But when the evil of this world encompass us then we think about God.
Today, St. Mark speaks to our hearts about where God Is. In the Gospel reading today, we hear that those who endure to the end shall be saved. Mark speaks clearly of the destruction, of disasters and of death that will take place. But as these things take place don’t be alarmed. For God is still with us.
Sadly many have forgotten where God is. Many have forgotten what worship is. Many have forgotten the holy things. Worship is not an entertainment; but a place where God comes to us with His means of Grace. Some of us work at our play, we worship our work, and we play at our worship. This is not what God meant for us as His redeemed children.
We go to God’s holy house because is there. We go to church to meet Him who is love in person and be transformed by Him. The blessings come when worship is held in the highest form and revered as the noblest thing. For Here in this place in this oasis God comes and refreshes us with His Spirit, with His Word of forgiveness and with His gift of the Lord’s Supper.
What saddens me is the fact that many in our world have lost the sense of what is holy. They don’t fear, love or trust in God above all else. Many don’t even know anymore what it means to be in the presence of God. This is perhaps the greatest tragedy of our age and time.
We don’t know where God is anymore. We don’t have a place set apart and separate where we meet God. We’ve walled God out of our world, our hearts and even some of our churches. And if by chance, we have a place for God in our lives, we meet Him not as an awesome holy God, but a as a friendly buddy—only a little above. We no longer consider sin to be a disease that destroys life. We are not fearful of the judgment that will come upon us.
These times are evil. Evil is everywhere, and it wants to deceive you into thinking that it is stronger than Jesus, stronger than the Father’s love, stronger than the Holy Spirit’s call. On this Tuesday of Holy Week Jesus knows the disciples are confused, disoriented, that sin clings to them and death surrounds them. This is why He has come - to speak peace to hearts in need of His comfort. Yes, He knows what you need. He knows we like “sparkly things.” He knows that wealth and power and influence can deceive. He knows our hearts and He knows that we need to drink deeply from the Cup of Salvation - and so He drank deeply from the Cup of Suffering, that leaving not one drop of that suffering in that cup for us to consume, that the Cup of Salvation would be ours. That is the means that allows us to not lose heart, even amidst wars and rumors of wars.
Looking at the headlines we see despair everywhere. Looking at our own lives we see the upheaval of earthquake and the dryness of drought, of famine and pestilence, of warfare and darkness. The evil one wants us to despair and turn from God - to punctuate these words, where is God with a question-mark. Ah, but we may use these words with the punctuation of Grace, Where is God! Why, right here! Where else! He walks through the valley of death on our behalf, so that it now becomes the valley of the shadow of death. Death has been to the dentist. It has lost its bite, for although it bit at the heel of Jesus, He crushed his head (Genesis 3:15).
When Hebrews 10:24-25 commands us to meet together and to encourage one another, even as we see the day (both evil and its answer in Christ) approaching, we are given the gift of shining, not with stones and buildings that decay and decompose, but He shines through us, as His living stones (1 Peter 2:5). The Law to be pronounced here is that He has worked with common stones - our sinful hearts - and we need to die, and we need daily to die - and to be raised anew in the living hope of Him who endured to the end. And now, the Gospel: He has fashioned you, even as He did our dear saints, to shine and reflect His glory, a precious stone, a living stone. As you endure in His endurance you wait with patience, for He who could go through Tuesday, to get to Thursday and then Friday, He is faithful! Even so, Amen.
Now the peace of God. SDG