Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sermon May 22, 2011

May 22, 2011
Psalms 98, John 16:5-15
Chaplain Keith GeRue
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sing unto the Lord a new song. For He has done marvelous things.

He has given Abraham and Sarah their laughing little boy back from the dead.

He has brought His people out of captivity through the deadly waters of the Red Sea, fed them with bread they did not earn and could not make, led them in a cloud.

He has hurled a stone with killing speed out of David's sling so that Goliath, with all his strength, was defeated by a child.

He has sent the Angel Gabriel to announce the conception of the Messiah to a distantly royal, but yet peasant, virgin in Nazareth.

He has refused the plea of His Son in the Garden of Gethsemane. His will has been done. The Innocent has been Sacrificed for the guilty. The Passover Lamb's blood has been spilt upon Calvary's sacred ground, and down our throats, to shield us from the angel of death. It is finished. And it is marvelous.

And thus comes the Comforter, comforting with forgiveness won by Christ, revealing Him who died and lives, declaring to be yours what is the Father's and the Son's, proclaiming the Word of Truth to lead into the Way of Truth, the Way of Jesus, the Way of the Cross.

The right Hand of the Holy Trinity, His holy Arm hath gotten Him the victory. That holy Arm has obtained the victory by giving His life as a ransom, by being a guilt offering, by paying the due wages for your sins. The Law that you would not keep has been satisfied. The Death you should have died, has been conquered, ended. And now there is no one left to accuse you. For He who knew no sin has been counted as a sinner in your place, crucified for sins that you, not He, did commit, forsaken by the Father, sent off into the wilderness, mocked by petty, pretend kings, all that you, poor sinner, might be His own beloved and dear son in whom He is now well-pleased.

He has made this salvation, this incredibly Good News, known through His Word. Even as His Word called forth light and all creation out of nothing, so also He has called a people who were no people to be His people by His Word. A people, who had rebelled and disowned Him, who sought to steal from and overthrow Him, He has loved, restored, and claimed them. The Word of God in the water of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit has washed you. It has drowned and buried those old rebels in that borrowed tomb with the broken seal, in death's last stand, that you would also rise again with Him in glory. That, according to the Word of God which cannot lie. And therein is His salvation. It is the righteousness of Christ shown unto the heathen, who are heathen no more. Whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved.

Thus we have something to make a joyful noise about, to sing about, to praise God for, not just today, but every day. We have a Savior, a Redeemer, a Shepherd, a Singer who sings before His Father the glories of your personal innocence and holiness in His scars. And that we might stand firm in this Hope, He has given us a Comforter, a Counselor, a Witness of the Truth. The same Spirit who did once brood over the chaotic waters of this world and brought them to order, lit upon our dark hearts through the water running off Jesus' back and into our font. He has made our hearts temples for Himself, reordered them, established them. For He calls us by the Gospel, enlightens us with His gifts, sanctifies and keeps us in the true faith. That is Grace, not works. It is not by our will, our faith, our decisions, our intellect that figured it out and cracked the Bible code, our wisdom in discerning God's will, our determination, that saves us. They cannot. They are full of sin. But we do not worship the God who helps those who help themselves. We worship the God who helps the helpless, the God who does it for us, the God who made the decision to redeem rebellious, fallen mankind which did not want Him. And He proclaimed from the Bloody Throne of Glory: “It is finished.” For it is not by works or righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saves us. This Grace fills us with joy so that our hearts burst within us. We are forgiven, clean, pure, accepted.

And thus we sing:
We sing with Job, even in the midst of turmoil, uncertainty, and pain. In our suffering, trials, and travails we sing of the living Redeemer whom we will see with our own eyes after we have died, but are made alive.

We sing with St. Mary, “My soul doth magnify the Lord” for the unspeakable joys that are inside of us. The Messiah, Christ, the Lord, who once lived in Mary's virgin womb, now lives in us.

We sing with the lepers, the tax-collector, and the blind man on the side of the road: “Lord have mercy.”

We sing with angels, “Glory be to God on high. Holy, Holy, Holy.”

And we sing with all the Church, with all the apostles, prophets, and martyrs, with angels and archangels, with all those gone before us and those still about us in the flesh. We sing: “We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord. Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ. Thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Save Thy people and bless Thine heritage.”

We cannot help but sing, for He has done marvelous things. He has given us a song. He has given us music. He has calmed the savage beast inside of us by it. That is His salvation. That is why, and what, we sing.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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