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Sermons

God’s Family

5/31/2015 Holy Trinity  Text is Romans 8:12-17.

Grace and peace to you from God, our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Every week, I begin my sermon the same way – with this greeting which comes down to us from St. Paul.  Yet, today, these words seem to be lacking something, for they do not include a greeting from the third person of the trinity – namely, the Holy Spirit.

Forgetting the third person of the trinity is not all that uncommon.  An American minister tells the story of a Sunday School class in a congregation he served.  In this class the children were memorizing the Apostle’s Creed.  Each child had a phrase to repeat when they recited it together.  One Sunday the minister was invited to come to the class to listen to them recite the creed.  They began well and continued around the room until they came to the part about the Holy Spirit.  After a few moments of silence, the minister asked, “What’s wrong?”  One of the children explained, “The boy who believes in the Holy Spirit is away today.”

There is something about God, the Father, and God, the Son, that is comfortable to us.  Maybe it’s because the parent-child bond is basic to life.  We understand the relationship and have a special attachment to it.  In fact, the very first distinctive sounds that we make as infants are centered on that relationship.  Over time, the sounds that form “Dada” and “Mama” change and become even clearer until we end up with Dad and Mom or Daddy and Mommy.  All of us go through this process when are little, even though we can’t remember it now.

While we may not all be parents, we have all been children.  We know what it is like to be a son or a daughter.  We know what it is like to be dependent upon our guardians for the basic necessities of life, for food and shelter and clothing.  We also know what it is like to be dependent upon our parents for loving care and guidance.  None of us would have made it to adulthood without them.  None of us would have become productive members of society and know right from wrong without the guidance provided by those who love us.  Of course, we may not have always accepted that guidance graciously.  In every child’s life there comes a time of rebellion and budding independence.  But, the faithful parent stands beside us even in the difficult moments, hoping that the time will come when we will once again find joy in the parent-child relationship.

We are God’s children, sons and daughters grafted into the family through baptism.  God is the Father of us all.  And as the heavenly Father, he embodies the very best of what a parent can be.  He’s forgiving, gentle, loving, compassionate, kind and forbearing.  He mercifully guides us along the right path, gives us rules by which to live and grow, and provides us everything we need (even if it’s not everything we want).  But as children, we sometimes rebel and push the relationship to the sidelines.  We want to test our wings and fly on our own.  This is why God, the Father, sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world – to put us back into a right relationship with him.  We can’t do that on our own.  We need God to go the extra mile for us.  And God does just that in his Son, who dies for us so that we might approach God without fear and call him, “Dad.”

It is the third person of the trinity, the third way in which God comes to us, that is least familiar to us.  There is an element of unpredictability in the Spirit for the Spirit blows where it wills.  In a world where control is a major issue, in a world where we want everything to be measurable and manageable, this free form of God can make us a bit uneasy.

Yet, it is this divine Spirit that convinces us that we are related to God in the way that children are related to their parents.  It is this divine Spirit that reminds us that we have been chosen and adopted into God’s family.  God want us to know this.  He wants us to know, deep in our souls, that not one of us is an accident of birth or an unwanted child.  We have been molded by his hands and chosen to receive a great gift.  We are part of God’s family, not by our own will, but out of the will of the Father who loves us.  And, if we are children, then we are also legitimate heirs and joint heirs with Christ.  God wants us to believe this.  God wants us to know just how special we are.  So, God sends us his Spirit.  And, in the Spirit he sends us himself to be with us forever.

This Holy Spirit has the power to transform lives in accordance with God’s will.  The Spirit is God’s grace infused into lives – to give us courage and hope, to empower us to serve.  This same Spirit binds us together into the community we call the church, and gifts us for the building up of that community.  The Spirit is God’s power which makes the ordinary extraordinary as one life touches another.

So here we have it…God, the Father, the Spirit and Christ, what we call the three persons of the trinity, works as one team.  God is our creator, to be sure, but he is more than that.  He is our Father and we are his children.  You are my brothers and sisters.  And we are brothers and sister of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, who died for our sins and rose for our salvation.  The Holy Spirit helps us to believe this and binds us into one family, the church.  Let us rejoice and be glad in this – that in love, God has made us one family, chosen, gifted, sent and blessed.

May you hold onto this.  May the Holy Spirit help you believe it.  And, may the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

Text:  Romans 8:12-17

Title:  God’s Family

Grace and peace to you from God, our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Every week, I begin my sermon the same way – with this greeting which comes down to us from St. Paul.  Yet, today, these words seem to be lacking something, for they do not include a greeting from the third person of the trinity – namely, the Holy Spirit.

Forgetting the third person of the trinity is not all that uncommon.  An American minister tells the story of a Sunday School class in a congregation he served.  In this class the children were memorizing the Apostle’s Creed.  Each child had a phrase to repeat when they recited it together.  One Sunday the minister was invited to come to the class to listen to them recite the creed.  They began well and continued around the room until they came to the part about the Holy Spirit.  After a few moments of silence, the minister asked, “What’s wrong?”  One of the children explained, “The boy who believes in the Holy Spirit is away today.”

There is something about God, the Father, and God, the Son, that is comfortable to us.  Maybe it’s because the parent-child bond is basic to life.  We understand the relationship and have a special attachment to it.  In fact, the very first distinctive sounds that we make as infants are centered on that relationship.  Over time, the sounds that form “Dada” and “Mama” change and become even clearer until we end up with Dad and Mom or Daddy and Mommy.  All of us go through this process when are little, even though we can’t remember it now.

While we may not all be parents, we have all been children.  We know what it is like to be a son or a daughter.  We know what it is like to be dependent upon our guardians for the basic necessities of life, for food and shelter and clothing.  We also know what it is like to be dependent upon our parents for loving care and guidance.  None of us would have made it to adulthood without them.  None of us would have become productive members of society and know right from wrong without the guidance provided by those who love us.  Of course, we may not have always accepted that guidance graciously.  In every child’s life there comes a time of rebellion and budding independence.  But, the faithful parent stands beside us even in the difficult moments, hoping that the time will come when we will once again find joy in the parent-child relationship.

We are God’s children, sons and daughters grafted into the family through baptism.  God is the Father of us all.  And as the heavenly Father, he embodies the very best of what a parent can be.  He’s forgiving, gentle, loving, compassionate, kind and forbearing.  He mercifully guides us along the right path, gives us rules by which to live and grow, and provides us everything we need (even if it’s not everything we want).  But as children, we sometimes rebel and push the relationship to the sidelines.  We want to test our wings and fly on our own.  This is why God, the Father, sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world – to put us back into a right relationship with him.  We can’t do that on our own.  We need God to go the extra mile for us.  And God does just that in his Son, who dies for us so that we might approach God without fear and call him, “Dad.”

It is the third person of the trinity, the third way in which God comes to us, that is least familiar to us.  There is an element of unpredictability in the Spirit for the Spirit blows where it wills.  In a world where control is a major issue, in a world where we want everything to be measurable and manageable, this free form of God can make us a bit uneasy.

Yet, it is this divine Spirit that convinces us that we are related to God in the way that children are related to their parents.  It is this divine Spirit that reminds us that we have been chosen and adopted into God’s family.  God want us to know this.  He wants us to know, deep in our souls, that not one of us is an accident of birth or an unwanted child.  We have been molded by his hands and chosen to receive a great gift.  We are part of God’s family, not by our own will, but out of the will of the Father who loves us.  And, if we are children, then we are also legitimate heirs and joint heirs with Christ.  God wants us to believe this.  God wants us to know just how special we are.  So, God sends us his Spirit.  And, in the Spirit he sends us himself to be with us forever.

This Holy Spirit has the power to transform lives in accordance with God’s will.  The Spirit is God’s grace infused into lives – to give us courage and hope, to empower us to serve.  This same Spirit binds us together into the community we call the church, and gifts us for the building up of that community.  The Spirit is God’s power which makes the ordinary extraordinary as one life touches another.

So here we have it…God, the Father, the Spirit and Christ, what we call the three persons of the trinity, works as one team.  God is our creator, to be sure, but he is more than that.  He is our Father and we are his children.  You are my brothers and sisters.  And we are brothers and sister of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, who died for our sins and rose for our salvation.  The Holy Spirit helps us to believe this and binds us into one family, the church.  Let us rejoice and be glad in this – that in love, God has made us one family, chosen, gifted, sent and blessed.

 

May you hold onto this.  May the Holy Spirit help you believe it.  And, may the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

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