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Sermons

The Wakeup Call

6/11/2017 Holy Trinity The text is Matthew 28:16-20, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Genesis 1:1-2:4a. 

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

It was a dark and troubled night.  Waters churned below; darkness reigned above.  Then the Father of all things spoke and the Spirit of God moved over the churning depth like a breath, calling forth first light, then sky, then earth, then heavenly lights, then birds and sea creatures, and finally animals and human kind.  And to the God, the Father, the Spirit breath, the living Word – everything was very good. 

In the first verses of the first book of the Bible, God defines humanity, creation and the relationship between them.  In this lies our understanding of who we are as people and how we are related to God, to each other, and to earth on which we live.  We do not exist apart from God.  We do not exist apart from everything that God created.  God makes us.  God endows us with special gifts.  God gives us a purpose – to care for everything that came into existence through God’s word and breath.  This means that if we disobey God, everything suffers.

God created everything very good.  But, as humankind, we screwed up.  From the time of the beginning of all things, we disobeyed God.  We broke our relationship and yet God in his fatherly love and compassion for us, continued and still continues to care for us through his incarnate word, Jesus Christ.  Jesus was sent into the world to pay the price for our disobedience, our sin.  And once that price was paid, the breath of God made its dwelling place in our hearts.

This is the love of God made known to us in three persons.  This is the Holy Trinity, the way in which God has been revealed to us.  An early church theologian, Tertullian, described it this way: the Father, as “a deep root, the Son as the shoot that breaks forth into the world, and the Spirit as that which spreads beauty and fragrance.”  But, no matter how we try to explain how God can be three persons, equal in majesty and yet one God, it’s a mystery and always will be.   

God is god and with God, all things are possible, even a unity that we cannot explain.  Our God is a god of relationship.  Our God is a god of love and mercy.  God has chosen to be in relationship with us.  God creates us.  God redeems us.  God abides with us.  And that is what counts!  We are enfolded in the inexhaustible love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Alleluia and amen! 

Our one and triune God has also put us in relationship with each other.  God has made us one as he is one.  We cannot say, “These are my enemies,” because they too are God’s beloved.  We cannot say, “They did evil to us; we will get our revenge,” because they are our brother and sisters.  We are all created by the same God, redeemed by the same Son, and guided by the same Spirit.  We are created in the image and likeness of a God who lives in harmony and community.  We are to greet one another with a holy kiss, agree with one another, and live in peace.  We are to be a team, working together to the glory of God.  For we have been chosen and commissioned by Christ himself for the work of ministry.

The church’s very foundation is steeped in the departing words of Jesus as he tells us to go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – in the name of our very triune God who created and still creates all things.  As in the beginning, we are God’s representatives here on earth, whether we like it or not, whether we live up to our purpose or not.  We are the caretakers of all God created, and we are given the special task of spreading the word and teaching and bringing others into the relationship we share through Christ Jesus, our Lord. 

Because our God is a god of love and mercy, God wants no one left out of his kingdom.  But, we are human and sometimes we slip up.  Sometimes we are like teenage children, rebelling and testing the waters to see how far we can push the envelope.  Sometimes, we are like old goats, sitting in our easy chairs and letting others do the work.  Sometimes, we like living by God’s grace without attesting to the grace of God. 

Our Daily Bread (January 1994) published a story of an embarrassing slip up with its surprising results.  It happened one day as a college choir gathered to present its package of music in a large church.  The program of sacred song was to be carried live by a local radio station.  When everything appeared to be ready, the announcer made his final introduction and waited for the choir director to begin.  One of the tenors was not ready, however, so the venerable conductor refused to raise his baton.  All this time, nothing, but silence, was being broadcast.  Growing very nervous, the announcer, forgetting that his microphone was still on and that he could be heard in the church and on the radio, said in exasperation, “Get on with it, you old goat!”

Obviously, that wasn’t the most gracious words to ever come off the announcers lips and so it wasn’t surprising that later in the week, the radio station received a letter from one of its listeners.  The letter came from a man who had tuned in to listen to the music from the comfort of his easy chair.  When he heard, “Get on with it, you old goat!” he took the message personally.  Yet, rather than being insulted, he began to realize that he had been doing nothing to further God’s work, and this startling message was enough to convince him and get him going again.

Sometimes, we need a wakeup call.  We need to be reminded that before Jesus left this earth, he told us what to do as God’s beloved creation – we are not to sit on our laurels, lapping in God’s grace.  We are to go and make disciples.  We are to be a people on the move – taking care of business, fulfilling our purpose by doing God’s work.

Sometimes, we need a wakeup call.  We need to be reminded that we are all children of God and that we share in God’s grace and in mission.  We need to get on with it!  We need to live in peace, showing God’s love in our relationships with each other as we reach out to bring others into the unity we share through Christ Jesus.

Sometimes, we need a wakeup call.  We need to be reminded that we are not alone.  We have a God who will be with us always to the end of the age as we live out our calling in daily lives.  It’s what we’re doing today that counts, not what we’re planning to do tomorrow.

So, let’s get on with it!  Let us rejoice in the relationship that we have with God and each other.  Let us get on with it!  Let us reach out to others with the love and mercy of our triune God.  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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