Sunday, June 28, 2015

“Power that Changes Lives!” (Mark 5:25-30)

S-1505 5SAP/3B 6/28/2015 Hymns: (O) #568; (S) #338; L.S. #394; #315 (C) #47

Texts: Psalm 30; Lamentations 3:22-33; 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-15; Mark 5:21-43

Theme: “Power that Changes Lives!” (Mark 5:25-30)

Question: Have you experienced the power of God in your life?


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost is from the Gospel reading: “And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If I touch even His garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in Himself that power had gone out from Him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” (Mark 5:25-30).


Saints in Christ today, again, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit we are given a glimpse of Jesus as He demonstrates His power—power that changes lives not for a day but forever. Through the writing of St. Mark we see Jesus performing gracious acts of mercy by touching people whose lives were difficult and hard. Last week, we noticed His power over the wind and wave. Today that power is manifested in another way. In the reading before our appointed text, we read of Jesus healing a demon possessed man from the suffering and pain he endured while living among the tombs. By God’s grace and the touch of Jesus he was made whole and became His follower.

As we look at the text we see a large crowd following Jesus. Through these inspired words St. Mark tells us of two great miracles, showing Jesus’ power over Disease in healing the woman suffering from an issue of blood; and over Death in raising the daughter of Jairus.

In the midst of this throng an event happened that changed the life of a woman who had spent her life’s saving going from one doctor to another but to no avail. Then she had heard of the Rabbi from Nazareth whose power was out of this world and He can do the impossible.

The unnamed woman followed Him from a distance and as she drew near with courage confessed that if she only touched the hem of His garment she would be healed. Talk about faith! With trembling hands she reached out and touched His garments and immediately her body was completely healed. No more money for doctor visits or medicine, no more seeking ways to feel comfortable. She is healed because the Divine Physician—Jesus Christ removed this ailment once and for all. His power has changed her life. PAUSE.

But His power is not limited only to disease but also over death. While Jesus was still visiting with this healed woman, word had gotten to Him that the young lady is dead. Through the mighty power of the Word that left His lips, He comforted Jairus saying, “Do not fear, only believe.” And He allowed no one to follow Him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.

This woman and Jairus teach us much about faith. Faith is active. Faith is alive. Faith is real. Are we willing to come in faith and touch Jesus? Are we willing to acknowledge that our whole life is empty unless we are touched by His pierced hands? Are we willing to confess that we need His help to make us whole not only physically, but more importantly spiritually?

Keep in mind this is not an altar call. The only altar call you have is come and kneel at this rail where Jesus touches you. Here by the Holy Spirit we can come to Him and be touched by His Divine grace and undeserved love. To be sure, He touches us in this place at the font with the power of the Word and the splash of water. Here He touches us with His holy blood to wash away our sins. Here He touches us with His holy meal of love to make us stronger and healthier.

The Great Physician and Divine Son of God touch us today intimately with His hands of grace. He touches us with the power of the Gospel, forgives our sins and clothes us with the garments of righteous. Through the power of the Gospel He sends us as His ambassadors of mercy and compassion to a world that so desperately need to know Him intimately.

More than ever we ought to be on the front line speaking of this power that changes lives. Our world today is being attacked from every corner. I am certain you heard of the Supreme Court decision on Friday that gave a mandate that gay marriages will be performed in all 50 states. These people feel empowered now. But they are wrong. And, we, His followers must stand up and speak the truth in love stating we must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29).

We can learn from the disciples who were challenged just like us. In Acts 4 they were challenged by the Sanhedrin to give them an answer by what power did they heal a cripple man? Listen to the voice of Luke telling us of the great confession of “Peter Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by Him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:8-12). PAUSE.

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ there is power in God’s Word—Jesus the Christ. His power is earth shaking. His power is eternal. His power doesn’t submit to the court or legislature or majority vote. His power comes to us as we are gathered around Font and Rail and receive the blessings He offers us.

There is power through the touch of Jesus. He touches us even today. He touches us through His Word. He touches us with His body and blood and our lives are changed forever. There is power in His Words. In the touch of His Word, we are killed and made alive. In the touch of His Word what is bleeding is made whole. It was true to the woman. It was true for Jairus. And it is true for you and me! As we step into this text, we are called to see ourselves in both of these figures of faith.

There are times when we are very much like the woman, bearing a never-ending sense of sin and uncleanness. Then there are the times when we are like Jairus, feeling the sting of the pain of death. For these times and every time in between, Jesus comes to touch us with His Word of power, pardon and peace! Yes, He touches us by the power of His Word always and changes our lives. PAUSE.


Saint in Christ, just imagine the great joy produced by the “Touches of the Savior”...The joy of the woman who touched Jesus…the joy of the parents whose child was touched by Jesus and restored to life. The unnamed woman is healed, and Tabitha is raised by the power.

That power is here today to bless you and make you whole. That power is not the voice of the majority, but the life-giving Word of the Messiah who came to earth to offer His life as the ultimate Sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. Anyone who is touched by the tree of the cross shall be healed forever and ever from sin, death and the devil.

Oh, the joy that fills our hearts today. For we too, have been touched and will be touched soon with the medicine of immortality. And as this power comes upon us and touches us, we are refreshed, renewed and revived to become His agents to touch others and bring His mercy and compassion to them.

Yet, we, as the woman, reach out our hand at the altar of Holy Communion to touch and be touched by the mercy and through the grace of God. So come, dear saints, hands extended, hearts open wide to believe this touch is sufficient to heal all life’s issues, to calm every fear, and terror. By the Spirit power we go forth from this place loving and serving as our Lord Christ this broken and misguided world.

May He whose power is eternal, continue to touch you with His hands of mercy and equip you to be His messengers of grace, mercy and compassion to the ends of the earth. Amen.

Now the peace…


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

“The GREATEST Story For You” (Genesis 3:9-10)

S-1501 2SAO/3B 6/07/2015 Hymns: (O) #901; #615; #613; #614; (S) # 914; (C) #917

Texts: Psalm 130; Genesis 3:8-15; 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1; Mark 3:20-35

Theme: “The GREATEST Story For You” (Genesis 3:9-10)

Question: “What is Your favorite story? Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Centennial, CO


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation for this morning is a portion of the O.T. Reading: “But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:9-10).

Precious children of the heavenly Father, the 2nd worst and tragic story in Scripture is found in Genesis chapter 11. It is the story of Babel. The people were trying to build a tower to get to God and make themselves gods. And God confused their language and dispersed them all over the land. This story is bad, but it is not the worst one.

The worst story in all of Scripture is when Adam and Eve listened to the devil instead of God. It is when God’s wonderful creation doubted God’s love and His Word that it will do what He said He would do. It is when the devil tried to break God’s heart by saying, “Now, what will you do with that naked woman and man—Your precious Trophy?”

Moses gives us insight into the heart of God. A heart that is holy and pure. A heart that demands absolute obedience. But at the same time he also shows us the nature of God that He is outgoing, caring and engaging. Into this messed up world God came to rescue His fallen creation from an eternity of hell. And in His coming we see his amazing and awesome love to His ultimate creation--mankind.

This is love par excellence. God didn’t wait for Adam and Eve to come to Him, but He came to them in spite of what they have done. Though the punishment was severe that they were driven out of the Garden of Eden and the glorious, intimate company with God; with this inquiring question God came to save them with the promise that is hidden.

What you see in this tragic and terrible story of the fallen man, is the faithfulness of God in keeping His Word, “The day you eat of it (fruit) you will die” and death is the consequence of sin and separation from God. But in that faithfulness of our loving God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit He offers the greatest absolution given to Eve is the promise of a son: You are going to have a son. That son is going to be the doom of satan. Satan knew he was finished. He knew he was toast. He knew he had lost. Eventually, the promise of Eve’s child will be revealed. PAUSE.

People of the cross, it is interesting to note that while man was the one who sinned, only the serpent and the ground are cursed. Man is not. He bears the consequence of his sin, but no curse. We still see that consequence all around us. Broken bodies, broken hearts, broken homes and broken peace. Every single one of us knows this kind of brokenness. There are those times when God feels far away, but it is only because like our first parents we want to keep the shame of our sin hidden from Him. These words of Genesis 3 are the reason we feel this. Adam and Eve didn’t die that day. But we experience the taste of that death every day.

But if you look closely, buried not too deep in the curses of these familiar words, there is also a promise. Yahweh talks about a Seed who would come and crush the head of the ancient serpent. Now from our perspective, we know that this Seed is Jesus. However, to grasp the fullness of this, we need to take our time a bit before we go running off the Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

As we look at the curse of the serpent, God promises that there will be many seeds of the weed tree of evil. Luther is right in his hymn, devils all the world should fill, all eager to devour us. There is no comfort in that part of this curse. But then again, with this in mind, all of the sin and grief that we deal with on a daily basis is confirmed. Those dastardly demons are there to work us harm.

But look at the other half of the curse. He speaks of ONE Seed. That is the very essence of the curse on the serpent. Yahweh makes it clear that ANY ONE of the seeds of this woman COULD be the One who would crush his head. Imagine that! Every time a child was born from that point on, it might be the One who would end him. What a curse! 

But for our sake, the Lord sets about narrowing the field of candidates. First they thought it was Cain, but he turned out to be the first murderer! So there were more seeds. Eventually the Lord located the promise in the seeds of faithful, yet childless Abraham. Then came Isaac, and Jacob, and Judah. Then eventually came David. And the line continued to narrow through the testimony of Scripture until we find ourselves peering over the manger while being watched by Joseph and Mary. Through the centuries God was keeping this promise/curse alive. It is a curse to satan, but promise to us. That is the way God works! The promise is fulfilled. The serpent’s head is crushed! PAUSE.

But the effect of that curse is still visible in our lives. You and I, God’s fallen creation, haven’t changed from the time of Babel. We are still trying to build ladders to get to God. But every time we build a ladder the rung keep breaking down. And we are still trying to fashion our own clothing made out of fig leaves just like our parents did.

In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve were hiding behind fig leaves but it is a poor remedy to cover our shame. These leaves are not any bigger than a bikini. And yet we fool ourselves just like Adam and Eve did. Now can you envision me or you walking around in fig leaves garments; or your pastor (Brad/Greg stand up)? I shudder to think of it.

But thank God it doesn’t depend on us to cover ourselves or make a way to God. The Promised Seed-Jesus—the God made flesh comes into our world to remove our sin and shame through His shed blood on Calvary’s cross. He comes into our world to restore the broken relationships we have with our heavenly Father. He comes into our world to redeem us from the punishment of the forbidden tree so that we may eat from the Tree of the Cross.

Just like God in the Garden needed to kill an animal to make a covering for our forefathers, so it is true that a life was given for us to cover us—and it is the Seed of the woman—the Lamb of God slaughtered for us to cover us, not with fig leaves, but with His garments of salvation.

In Baptism He clothes us with his white robes of righteousness. And He invites us to come to Him and dine with Him so that we may be certain His love is real and eternal. And that is the beauty for us as His people. We know Jesus doesn’t work with the living, but with the resurrected dead—that is you and me.

Though this is a tragic story, but it is your story and mine. It is the story of the outgoing God who comes to your aid, to rescue you, restore you and redeem you and make you His forever. This is indeed the GREATEST story for you. And when people ask you why, you may tell them, because God loved me enough to die for me, rise again on the third day and gave a me new life with Him—life that satan can’t take away from me EVER.

Today, beloved children of the heavenly Father, rejoice, celebrate and give thanks for the GREATEST story for you. Amen and Amen.

Now the peace…


“Love is A Gospel Diamond” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

This sermon was preached at the Rocky Mountain District in Denver for their 50th Convention

S-1500 TS/3B 6/05/2015 Hymns: (O) #525; (S) # 543; LS. #507; #535; #700; #537 (C) #837

Texts: Psalm 103:1-12; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; John 3:14-21

Theme: “Love is A Gospel Diamond” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Rocky Mountain District Convention, Denver, CO. Thursday of Holy Trinity week


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for this blessed occasion is the text chosen for your Convention from St. Paul’s letter to the Church at Corinth: “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

President Andersen, Colleagues in the proclamation of the Gospel, delegates, family and friends, I bring you greetings from President Harrison and your church body Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). The LCMS’s mission Statement reads like this: “In grateful response to God’s grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacraments, the mission of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is vigorously to make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches, communities, and the world.”

Love is what it is all about. You have heard the statement: “Love makes the world go around.” And it is absolutely true. Without love we have nothing. Without love our world is empty. Without love we would be without hope.

The Apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit catalogues for us what love is, does and doesn’t do. He concludes this chapter by saying: “…but the greatest of these is LOVE!

For this reason, I have titled the sermon for the special gathering of God’s people of the Rocky Mountain District “Love is a Diamond GospelPAUSE.

Some of you know that I grew up in Haifa, Israel. About 20 miles south of my home is the town of Netanya which has a diamond factory. Israel doesn’t mine diamonds, but it has factories where they cut, polish and set them in stones and ship them all over the world.

If you were to stop at this diamond factory the workers would be delighted to sell you a pretty diamond. As they do they will explain to you about the 4C’s of diamond grading. They are:



Clarity and,


The price of the diamond is dependent on these qualities. The bigger the carat the higher the price. Some of you know how expensive diamonds are especially if you have given it a gift to the one you love. That is why some men go broke as they purchase an engagement ring.

Diamond is a rare jewel that stands above the rest. Did you know that before a diamond reaches a woman’s hand, it will probably touch at least four continents and the lives of hundreds of people?  The expertise of many skilled and experienced craftsmen is necessary in the complicated process of extracting and finishing a diamond.

Furthermore once a diamond goes through this process not one is exactly the same. Each diamond has its own individual characteristics that make it completely unique in its own right. These slight differences between each stone mixed with the rarity of gem quality stones available make every diamond special.

So, too, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For the love of Christ is a Gospel diamond. It is touchable and tangible. It is memorable and monumental. It is notable and noticeable. PAUSE.

In 1988 I led a tour to the Holy Land. One of the (elderly) ladies that joined me on the trip was a survivor of a tornado that had struck her town and home. The only thing she was able to grab before she lost all of her belongings was her passport and cashier’s checks.

She needed lots of help because she was unable to walk. Two kind hearted men—a pastor and his layman said, “Pastor Nour, you take care of the other travelers and we will take care of her.” These men were living from the gospel! These men were living deeply from the story of God’s great love in Christ for them that they demonstrated the gospel diamond on the 11 day journey. They pushed, pulled and carried her wheelchair to every location. She never missed any sight or anything we participated in. That is love in action.

However, in our sinful flesh we do not always show love to those around us. We don’t love our spouses the way we should. We don’t show love to those who are above us. We speak evil of others. We are jealous of others. We envy others. We claw, hurt and shame others. We don’t often respect our pastors, and at times have roast pastor in the afternoon. The pastor is long winded, he is monotone or boring. And, we, pastors don’t always show care and love to those we serve. Love is not easy for us to demonstrate.

Yet, when you walk through the corridors of Holy Scriptures you see God who is love touching many with His loving, compassionate and pierced hands. In 1 Kings 19, Jesus (The Angel of the Lord) touches Elijah and feeds him so that Elijah travels on this meal for 40 days. All because of the loving touch.

We see the same in the New Testament. Jesus touches the blind; the demon possessed, the lame the lepers and even the dead are restored. Through the gracious hands of Jesus—love is manifested in the Gospel diamond.

That is why the Sacred Meal which we will soon receive is the Gospel diamond. In that LOVE meal Jesus touches us and fills us with His love. Here He both feeds and forgives and all from His pierced side and hands and feet. Jesus is truly, actually present with us. He is not a picture, but He Himself is present… present to touch us and feed us, to forgive us and give us strength for the journey that is ours… that is yours! This love meal is more costly and precious than any diamond you or I, or all of us together could buy—it cost the Lord, our Bridegroom His life-blood as the ransom for His Bride-the Church. He paid for her through His suffering, death and glorious resurrection. Therein lies the Gospel diamond—In Jesus our Savior and God. PAUSE.

Some say, “Love is just a word until someone comes and gives it meaning!” How right they are. Someone did come. He didn’t come from four different continents but from the glories of heaven to earth—the Word made flesh and gave meaning to our lives—that we are precious in His sight; That we are His SEGOULA—His TREASURED POSSESIONS.

To be sure, love is a Gospel diamond because there is power in that Word. Pastor Paul understood this and that is why he highlighted that these three remain: “faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Love is what it’s all about. Christ’s Love, His Agape Love. Yes the greatest of these is love… The love of Christ: in our hearts, in our heads, and thankfully, in our homes and in this family we know as the Lutheran Church, here in the grand Rocky Mountains.

Yes, it is this Agape Love which He has lavished upon us that now reflects like light off a diamond, off that Diamond Love, reflecting and refracting His heart and His finished work into the darkest corners of the darkest hearts – all so that others may indeed know this Jesus who is Love. We are called, my brothers and sisters in Christ to be His own, and in that we reflect His love to others. What a privilege! What an honor! What a high calling!

Diamonds can be breath-taking. When I see a beautiful diamond sparkling and the light dancing on it and through producing colors and patterns it takes my breath away. So when I see Jesus in action through you, and the light of the Holy Spirit and the glory of God dancing and through you, when I see the church at worship in adoration and praise of the One true and living God in Jesus Christ and brothers and sisters agreeing in faith and joining in prayer, that Gospel diamond is breath-takingly beautiful and it takes my breath away. PAUSE.

Beloved saints in Christ, remember earlier I said that there 4C’s for diamond grading? Color, Cut, Clarity and, Carat. But there are also 4C’s in the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus.

Cross, Care, Compassion and Communion.

Today, by the grace of God, as we gather to begin the Rocky Mountain District Convention, may the Holy Spirit help us to celebrate this Gospel diamond! Surely now He has called each of us by His four “C’s” by His Cross, and in His Care, through His Compassion, such that as we share Communion with Him and with one another, others too will see His great love.

20 Miles S. of my house in Israel is the town of Netanya. Netanya, means “God gave.” He certainly did. He gave us love found in an infant child wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. He gave us love on Calvary’s cross in His crucified only-begotten Son. And through that crucified Son, now risen from the dead as proven by an empty tomb, He gave us forgiveness of all our sins and eternal life in His beloved Name —Jesus.

Therefore, may we with grateful hearts give thanks to the One who loved us from before the foundation of the world and granted us this Gospel diamond to guide us the Bride of Christ to our eternal home with Him our Bridegroom forever and ever. Amen.

Now the peace…


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

“An Audience With God” (6:1-3)

S-1499 TS/3B 5/31/2015 Hymns: (O) #239; (S) # 246; LS. #496; #312; #237; (C) #244

Texts: Isaiah 6:1-8; Acts 2:14, 22-36; John 3:1-17

Theme: “An Audience With God” (6:1-3)

Question: “Have you ever someone important?” The Festival of the Holy Trinity


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for the Holy Trinity is the O.T. reading: In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above Him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:1-3).

Precious, beautiful and blessed children of the heavenly Father, in 1988 as I was considering entering the ministry I needed to be interviewed by the then District President Ray Hartwig. As I was preparing to visit with the DP, I was nervous, fearful and a little apprehensive to walk into that office.

In 2010, I met the President of our LCMS—Pastor Harrison. Again, as I was about to have an audience with him fear and trepidation overtook me as I walked into his office.

Now after all these years, I know that the fears of that day were overblown. Both of these men who are faithful in their service to the Lord and the Church. I really had nothing to fear. In fact, we turned out to be on the same team. Today I count them more than just colleagues in the ministry. I regard them as brothers and friends!

But on those days in my history the fear was real. You know that kind of fear. It grabs you and causes you to swirl with emotions. It manifests itself in beads of sweat, your heart beats faster, and your blood pressure rises. While there are times when fear is irrational, there are indeed times when fear is real. If we were to stand before judge in court with the power to throw us into prison that would be a healthy time for fear!

This kind of real and healthy fear is what we have in the text before us today. The prophet Isaiah is having an audience with the Holy God—the Only True God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. At the sight that he sees, Isaiah is terrified and cries out, “Woe to me! “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” A terrifying moment for Isaiah. This prophet standing in the presence of the King eternal is shaking in his boots because he knows he is toast on account of sin. Sin and holiness have nothing in common. How can he a sinner stand in the presence of God Almighty?

This holiness is manifested with the echo of the seraphim as they called out to each other speaking of the everlasting King, this Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the God who is greeted with the three times spoken, “Holy, Holy, Holy!” His holiness, His very being, repeated three times: Nowhere else in all the Old Testament is a name repeated three times. The Father is Holy, the Son is Holy, the Holy Spirit is Holy! This is what we just finished confessing in the Athanasian Creed. But in Scripture, only here in Isaiah 6 and in Revelation 4:8 is His Holy Name repeated three times - once for each member of the Trinity. PAUSE.

By the grace of God we have been brought here to this place to have an audience not with presidents of Districts, or Synod and not even the President of the US, but with God Himself—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We have every reason to be terrified just as Isaiah was—for we too, are sinners and we have no right to be in His presence.

By the Spirit’s power we have an audience with Jesus. Here we stand fearing for our very lives because of the sins we have committed. Our accuser the devil mount the charges but Jesus stand between us and God and gives us what we don’t deserve—forgiveness of sins and life and salvation.

However, since we have come here by God’s invitation—we come with joy and gladness realizing we come not to be judged or condemned but to receive from the only true God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit, His grace and compassions.

In the majestic means of the water and the Word we were washed and cleaned. As we gather in this holy place to praise Father, Son and Holy Spirit we receive the gift of His body and blood to take away our sins and assure us of our future with Him forever.

Children of the heavenly Father, on this Holy Trinity Sunday I remind you again of the honor and privilege you and I have an audience with God in the flesh. This is similar to the Gospel lesson where Nicodemus has an audience with Jesus. PAUSE.

This is glorious and marvelous indeed! By the grace of God both Isaiah and Nicodemus are shown miraculously how sins are forgiven. God touched Isaiah with the coal from the Altar and made Him pure. Likewise Nicodemus was told to look at the cross like the O.T. snake-bitten people looked at the bronze snake and were will be healed.

We, too, are the recipients of this glorious and amazing grace. God touches us by putting His body and blood on our tongues and lips and our sins are removed. He says to us: “Take and eat, take and drink this is My TRUE body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins!”

That is why when I commune I don’t like to take the body in my hand, I want it placed on my tongue just as the thrice Holy God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit did for Isaiah; and removed His sins from him.

In this house of worship we have an audience with God. He meets us here. Is this not what Jesus taught that He only eats with sinners?  He eats with us sinners because He knows we need Him desperately.  Only those aware of their sin and seeking the forgiveness and life offered by Jesus in His body and blood should come forward. We come forward singing, “So who am I, That I should live and He should die. Under the rod? My God, my God, Why have You not forsaken me? O taste and see the Lord is free.”

Yes, we come with joy and gladness because we know God intimately—Jesus has made Him known to us. He described the Father’s love in this way: For God so loved the world, and yes, that is you, that He gave fully His only-begotten Son, yes, the sinless Son now as the full payment for our sin, for your sin, so that everyone who believes in Him, and this faith is revealed through this gift of the Cross, would have not eternal condemnation, but would have the very Father of Jesus as our own Father, and this because we have been loved by the gift of this Son. We seldom give the 17th verse its due. For this loving Father did not send this beloved Son into the world to condemn us... rather, He came that we would be saved through Him.”

Precious, beautiful and blessed children of the heavenly Father, an early Christian Father, named Tertullian said of the Trinity... “Try to understand it and you will lose your mind. Deny it and you will lose your soul.” Thank God we don’t have to understand it but by faith worked in us through the Holy Spirit, believe and rejoice in it.

Remember, then, how easy it is to forget just how loving this Triune God is. We have the One God in three Persons whose whole being is to love His dear creation. He loves you. As you confess your faith using this long and precious Creed, I want you to think about its care and precision making Him known to us so that we would ever and always rely on the fact that we are saved through Christ; and by His pierced and loving hands makes it be possible for us to have an audience with God—even so, Amen.

Now the peace…