Sunday, July 4, 2010

“What A Picture” (Isaiah 66:12-13)

S-1197 6SAP/3C Hymns 7/04/10, (O) #36; S #61; SOB #43; (C) #577

Texts: Isaiah 66:10-14; Galatians 6:1-10, 14-18; Luke 10:1-20

Theme: “What A Picture” (Isaiah 66:12-13)

Question: Have you seen a picture that really grabbed you.


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for this sixth Sunday after Pentecost is from the O.T. lesson: “For thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem’” (Isaiah 66:12-13).

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

People of God, chosen and beloved, they say that a picture is worth a 1000 words. How true that is. There are pictures that capture the moment. There are pictures that speak volumes. Some of the pictures really draw you in. Some capture the heart and head. Pictures tell a story. Some pictures can be a visual aid and learning tool for someone who doesn’t learn audibly. Today, we have one of those grand and glorious pictures of God described through Isaiah as a mother nursing her infant child.

This is not just a mere picture—but a picture that extends to you life and liberty, hope and happiness, provision and peace. Come closer and see this picture with me today—that gives freedom, faith and guaranteed future.

In our Old Testament lesson, we see Isaiah like a master craftsman take brush, canvas and colors and paints a very lovely and beautiful masterpiece portrait of God. With this picture Isaiah tells us a story of God’s unfathomable love. With this picture Isaiah transport us from being concerned and panicked to being comforted and pacified. With the stroke of a brush we see what God does. Isaiah puts this way: “I will extend peace to her like a river and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees.”

Do you see it? Do you grasp it? A most comforting and consoling picture. God is portrayed like a mother holding her child on her hips and nursing him. Mothers, you can remember those days can’t you? Children, you too remember those days. I certainly do. Even approaching the age of double nickel, I can still see in my minds eye my mother picking me up, holding me near to her breast and nourishing me with her love. I can see her playing with my hair and kissing my forehead. What a picture indeed. This is God at work. And what does Isaiah want us to learn from this? That God cares for us and feeds us tenderly. What a lovely picture of our Awesome and Amazing God and of our relationship to Him as His beloved children! He tenderly, carefully, and gently feeds and fills us through His self-giving on the Cross! PAUSE.

John Wanamaker, near the close of a successful life, was not ashamed to admit his debt of undying gratitude to the influence of his moth­er’s love in the words: “My first love was my mother, and my first home was on her breast. My first bed was on her bosom. Leaning little arms on her knees, I learned my first prayers. A bright lamp she lit in my soul that never dies down or goes out though the winds and waves of fourscore years have swept over me. Sitting in my mother’s armchair, which she loved because her first-born son gave it to her 40 years ago, I am writing this with the evening twilight coming on. With the darkness falling, I seem to lose myself in the flood of memories and to feel that the arms of the chair have loosed them selves to become my very own mother’s arms around me again, drawing me to her bosom, the happiest place on earth, just as she used to do in the days and nights long gone by. I feel the touch of her little hand on my brow, and I hear her voice as she smoothes my hair and calls me her boy, her very own boy.”

Now that is a picture that tells a story of love and life and laughter. That is a picture that lives in John’s heart even after his mother has been gone for long. We, too, have a marvelous picture that tells our story—a story of God’s love that extends to us His peace like a river; like a mother holding her child near her breast and heart and caring for his every need.

My beloved and His beloved, do you have any concerns, worries, troubles, distress, hardships, afflictions, sorrow or sadness? Then lift your heads up! See the picture of love Isaiah paints today for you and know that you are not just anybody, but somebody special, loved, cared for and wanted. Yes, you are the ONES whom God seeks after. You are the ONES He wants to put on His lap. You are the Ones He wants to caress, nurture and nurse with the heavenly manna. Why? Because He is the God of LOVE, He desires to bless you and fill your hearts, heads and home with His love. PAUSE.

During this Fourth of July Celebration while many are out on the beach, or gathering with family and friends at picnic celebrating Independence Day, we, here at the Lord’s house celebrate our dependence on Him because all good gifts come from Him. The Gifts He gives, will not be stolen, snatched, seized or squandered; but gifts that will remain forever in our hearts and homes. With this picture from Isaiah we know the enormous love the Father has for us—a love that is beyond our understanding and imagination.

Know this child of God: If God had a refrigerator; your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. If He had a house you would be His guest. He sends you flowers every spring. He sends you a sunrise every morning. Face friend—He is crazy about you!!! God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tear, light for the way, peace for the troubled heart, and an extended hand to hold you, pick you up and set you on His lap only as a mother would and could.

Today, the compassionate and gracious God offers you comfort and peace; love and joy; happiness and heaven, rejoicing and resurrection, elation and eternity. Comfort is not an armchair. Comfort is God leading, feeding, reassuring, inspiring, and heartening us to hear Him as He cares for all of our needs. PAUSE.

Isn’t interesting, when we were children we loved being held by our mothers. However, as we grew older, we think that we no longer need the loving arms of our mothers or chest to lean against. We even go so far as not to be touched or hugged or seen in public with our mothers. HOW SAD in the way we treat our mothers and God too!

But God is not ashamed of us. God is not the One who moves away from us. Instead He seeks us out, calls us by name and extends to us His hand so that we can take hold of His and walk with Him as He leads and direct us on life’s journey.

From His loving hands we receive more than we ask or bargain for. Housing and food are given by the Gracious hand of the Lord, literally, we come as an infant, needing His cradling arms and His nursing, the extending of His grace and provision are given to us through the Incarnate One who came to meet our every need—the greatest of which the removal of our sins and the peace that we need.

Never forget dear loved ones and children of God. You and I have a God who knows us more intimately than a mother, a nursing mother knows her own child very well, but God knows us better. He knows what we need more than we do. Now that is a gift to comfort and keep us going in our walk of faith. Just as a nursing mother’s love covers her beloved, so also does the Love and tender care, the seeing eye of the Lord, the outstretched hand of God compass us about on all sides (Psalm 5:12; 32:7, 10). Indeed, He compasses you about on all sides.

Yes, He covers you with His love. He nurtures you with His Grace. He feeds you with His gifts of Word and Sacrament. All of this is done because His own child was once rejected for the sins of the world on a wooden beam outside of Jerusalem. The One who was rejected made it possible for you and me to be reunited with the Father of love and compassion.

This is nothing but pure Gospel offered to you and me. Today, as you look at this great and grand picture see it for what its worth—a picture of love. Love made manifest as the Son of God opens His arms on the cross and dies for you telling you. “I LOVE YOU MY CHILD. I DIED FOR YOU MY CHILD. BUT I ALSO ROSE FOR YOU MY CHILD!”

Today, by the working of the Holy Spirit you saw a most amazing picture—a picture that is painted by God Himself—and what a picture it is. Go forth then on this Independence Day, knowing He has made you independent from death, by making you dependent on Him whose hand extends in love, whose grace suckles and feeds you and who always cares for you from now until He ushers you into His chest forever. Amen and Amen.

Now the peace of God…


No comments: