Posts Tagged ‘Holy Trinity’

What Direction Are We Going? 6-11-17

In this sermon I explore the first account of Creation found in Genesis 1:1-2:3. This is quite fitting on this Holy Trinity Sunday as we worshiped outdoors in the midst of God’s creation. Amazingly enough, God invites us to join in the ongoing work.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:
https://soundcloud.com/revdalen/what-direction-are-we-going-6-11-17

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here. Note that there are a few deviations from the audio version.

On this Holy Trinity Sunday I say to you, grace and peace in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Just out of curiosity, how many of you out there are cat people? (Pause) Okay…cats are interesting creatures aren’t they? They can be incredibly loving, and incredibly arrogant. They can show amazing laziness, and unbridled chaotic energy. And they are incredibly fickle…and maybe even arrogant…aren’t they?

Our cat often looks at me, and I think I can pretty much read her mind. “You, human. Do not disturb my sleep. But go downstairs and scoop my box. You will also feed me, because seeing the bottom of my food dish uncovered is unacceptable…Now, I have decided that you will pet me…this is how you will pet me, front to back from the base of my neck to a spot 2 inches in front of my tail. You will not deviate from this…You will pet me precisely 7 times, and then I bite you.” (pause) Sound about right?

This strange nature of cats…this utter, mind of their own, is where the expression “trying to herd cats” comes from. Because it just doesn’t work…and if you try to manhandle even one cat, what happens? It goes…NUTS…biting, hissing, clawing. If you try to subdue it, it will fight you with every atom of its being. (Pause)
Now I bring up this craziness, because I think that it perfectly represents some truth that we see in the creation story that we’ve shared today. Its fitting that we hear this story today as we are out in creation…and as we look around, seeing all there is to see, we hear how God makes it.

But here’s the funny thing about the creation story…its just one of many possibilities isn’t it? There’s a second one that starts up right after this one, and while there’s a lot of similarities, there are some very stark differences as well. But this one, we’re familiar with…because we’ve heard it many times.

That’s the basis for how the Jewish culture passed on their stories…those stories that shaped who they were as a people. Parents and grandparents…those who came before would tell their stories to their children and grandchildren, and they in turn would share the same story, and it carried on generation after generation over the course of centuries.

Now the first account of creation wasn’t actually written down until pretty late in the history of the Jewish culture…about 600BC, the southern kingdom of Judea was conquered by the Babylonians, who were the dominant empire at that particular moment…and pretty much all of the Jewish people were hauled off into a foreign land where they had to keep their heads down and their cultural identity pretty much on the down low…and everything about the Babylonian culture was dominant…including their religious view on where the world came from.

The Babylonians believed in many different gods…and way back when, two of them got in a big fight…their main god named Marduk fought and killed another god named Tiamot…and then Marduk used Tiamot’s dead body to build the earth. Lovely huh? The dominant view at the time was that our world…our reality…only came about through death and destruction.

But in the middle of this, the Jewish culture kept on telling the story of our god…GOD…who created our reality in a much different way and out of much better motivation. God didn’t start with death…God started with delight…think about it. It begins as the Spirit of God is hovering over chaos…disorder.

And God says Let there be light…and there was…and from that point forward we see the chaos, the disorder begin to move towards something. First we’ve got a separation between the light and the dark, simply because God said let light be. And God took a look and called it good…do you remember the Hebrew word for good? (Pause) TOV.

Well then apparently there’s all this water swirling around, and God says let’s put that in order…let there be a separation…and there was water above and water below…TOV

Now God thinks we need to better down below…let the water be pushed back and let there be earth…and there was…TOV…but that earth seems pretty bare, so lets grow something on it…Let there be plants and grass and trees and fruit and all that stuff…yep, TOV.

And since plant life is so awesome, God thinks that we need another step of life…and so let there be birds and fish so that the air and the sea will be filled and that’s so TOV that God decides that life needs to join in this creation, in this move towards order, and so God instructs the birds and the fish to multiply, to do what they are intended to do…and then since they’re so TOV God decides that we need animals out on the land as well and says Let there be cattle and beasts and creeping things and there is and that’s TOV.

And now, God wants to top it all off…and God starts talking to himself, which is a bit weird right? But remember we’ve got the creator speaking this disorder into order…and we’ve got the Spirit that we heard was hovering over the chaos to begin with, and as we heard at the start of worship out of John, that reminder that the Word which would become flesh was there too and all things came into being through him…and so it would seem that the Holy Trinity which are one but three at the same time…namely, our God that exists in relationship.

And not only that, but the final bit of God’s TOV creation is us…humanity and we are made, male and female both, bearing this divine image…and image that I think instills in us this same need to be in relationship just like God is in relationship….and once we’re around, doing our thing…God calls everything…very good…very TOV…or TOV MIHOT. (pause)

So now we’ve got this amazing creation that God spoke into existence, not out of death destruction, but because God takes delight in everything that he makes…and that’s mind blowing. (pause) But here’s the thing, when God makes each thing, he doesn’t command it…he doesn’t say “this is how you will be.” God says “let there be…” Let light be…Let the world…be…let life…be. And I think that means that God gave each part of creation, each part of reality the freedom to BE, as it is…not perfect…but the world as we see it…and then to top it off, God looks at humanity and gives us a task. Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth…and…SUBDUE it. (pause) Subdue creation.

Think back to what we starting talking about…and trying to control a cat. It fights back right back? It follows its very nature to resist your domination of it…your attempts to subdue it. And I think the rest of creation does the very same thing doesn’t it? God allowed it to be as it is, and yet God instructs us to subdue it…now wonder our reality is so broken and flawed…because it is resisting our attempts to subdue it…our attempts to join with God in the work of bringing disorder into order…of bringing chaos to peace. (pause)

In the end, I think that’s what’s really going on here. God started with chaos, and very slowly God is at work to bring it towards order…towards peace…and he’s invited us into that work…and amazingly enough, God has done all of this out of love…out of delight…and we know this because God calls it GOOD.

One day, this work will be done…and all the disorder…all the chaos…all the brokenness that exists without our reality, and even within our very nature will achieve peace…that’s where this is all headed, and how amazing is it that we get to join in and be a part of it all. Amen

Vaya Con Dios 5-22-16

In this sermon for Holy Trinity Sunday, I explore Romans 5:1-5. God has chosen to be revealed to the world in many different ways, but all because of the love that God has for us and the rest of creation.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:
https://soundcloud.com/revdalen/vaya-con-dios-5-22-16

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

Grace and peace to you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Ever since last week, which of course was the day of Pentecost, I’ve been thinking about how the Holy Spirit comes upon the disciples, and at least in that moment, gives them the ability to speak in different languages…I’ve been thinking about it, because I think that particular Spirit-given gift would be a really great one to receive…but if my own linguistic abilities are any indication…the Spirit passed me with that particular gift.

Because I am pretty much the poster boy for being mono-linguistic…aka, I know one language. Anything beyond my knowledge of the English language is minimal at best.  I can insult someone in German, which I learned from an exchange student…and I know just enough Spanish to survive…and barely at that…What little I know is all based on the same phrase…so see if you recognize any of these.
Donde esta es el banjo….Where is the bathroom? How about this one…Donde esta es agua…Yep, where is water? Then there’s this one that would have possibly been helpful in my days of being single…Donde esta es la senioritas…yep, where are the girls?  And finally, my personal favorite. Donde esta es el cervesas?  Some of you recognize that one…and if you don’t know, ask the people laughing now…they’ll tip you off. (pause)

Now beyond that, there is one more phrase in Spanish that I do know and I think its pretty cool. Vaya con dios…Now this phrase serves as a farewell…and actually means “go with God.” It’s a way for individuals who are parting from one another to offer a brief blessing in their departure…as you go, may God be with you…that’s really the basic gist of this phrase.
I bring it up because today it seems sorta fitting. Today is Holy Trinity Sunday…which always falls the first Sunday after Pentecost…Today serves as a time when we focus on the Trinity…one God in three persons…and its fitting to do so now because as we move through the church year, we have now reached the point where all three members of the trinity have really been on display. We’ve encountered the God of creation…we’ve been through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, our Pascal Lamb…and now following Pentecost, we celebrated the arrival of the Holy Spirit which empowers us as the church…as the body of Christ here on Earth until such time as Jesus returns. (pause)
This is where we find ourselves today…kicking off the long season of Pentecost as we continue to recall and remember the ongoing growth of the church throughout the centuries which ultimately will culminate in the return of Christ in the last days…and over the course of our history, we have come to an understanding of the Trinity…or the Triune God…this notion of One God in Three persons…one God who has been revealed to humanity in three specific ways.

But admittedly, as I’ve said before…the notion of the trinity is really hard to wrap our heads around. It tends to be one of those teachings here in the church that we accept to be true but can’t really put into words…and yet, year after year, in countless settings, pastors stand in pulpits in front of their congregations, and many attempt to offer insight and descriptions to shed some light on the truth of the trinity.

And most of them…in fact probably all them…fail. Because the trinity is not something that we can describe…its not something that we can explain…it is only evidence of the truth that we have a God who has chosen different ways to be revealed to us.

I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a close look at the three stain glassed windows that are out in the narthex…they were placed there during the last building expansion but used to be at the back end of this sanctuary…but if you think about it, take a look when you walk out today…because at the center of each window is an image that represents one of the trinity…there’s the all seeing eye that depicts our all seeing God overlooking all of creation…and then there’s the image of a lamb representing Christ who is the ultimate Passover sacrifice…and finally the image of the dove representing the Spirit descending at Jesus’ baptism. (pause)

These are simply 3 images…and yet they remind us of the truth that we have a God who WILL be revealed to us…and there is no limit and nothing that hinders God from being revealed…Have you ever noticed how different individuals share their vastly different ways of having experienced the presence of God? Each one is vastly different than the one that came before, but if they have anything in common, it’s the notion that the presence of God is revealed to the person in some way that is personal and meaningful to them…a way that reminds them that God is with them in that moment, and every moment…that regardless of what goes on they go with God…they vaya con dios. (pause)

Now perhaps this raises the question of why? Why does God do this? Or what is God’s motivation for being revealed to us? And if we refer back to Paul’s words from Romans that we heard earlier, we see that in all things, God works to reveal his divine love for us…because we are a part of his creation…God made it…and God takes delight in it…joy, love for all that he has made…including us…but since the powers of sin and death have entered this world, creating a rift that our Good God cannot tolerate…God continued to reveal his love for us…his desire to be with us…by taking on flesh and dwelling among us as one of us…and in the end, through the death and resurrection of Christ…our price is paid…and whatever sense of justice needed to be filled…we hear that we are justified through our faith in Christ…and we have peace with our Creator…and what is faith? Well, its simply believing that God will do what God promises…and we receive the promise that God claims us as his own, drawing us to himself through the power of the Holy Spirit…and why? For the exact same reason…simply because he loves us. Not because of anything that we do, or say or think…but simply because of who we are…his beloved creation.

The Trinity exists in such a way that we can begins to see that we have a God who exists to be in relationship…and already was before our reality became reality…and likewise, as we are created in the image of God, we also exist to be in relationship with one another and with the one that created us in the first place….and nothing, not even our foul ups are going to hinder God from that relationship. (pause)

Perhaps you’ve heard of the idea of an elevator pitch…the notion that if you had the amount of time it takes to go a few floors in an elevator, what would you say to another individual to peak their interest…and I’ve shared it before…my elevator pitch for the gospel…God made it, we messed it up, Christ redeemed it, and through the Spirit we are invited to join with God in the work of reconciliation.

What a blessing to be invited into this work…and even more so to realize that God intends that we join in this work in the midst of our day to day lives…we don’t need special training…we don’t need to go around the world…we simply recognize that we are empowered to share our story of what God has done…of what we have seen and heard.

But all that being said…we also know that this life as believers…this life that we live, having already been justified in the eyes of God through Jesus Christ…this life is not easy. We are not excused from suffering, or hardships, or troubles…and in fact if the Apostle Paul is to be believed…our life as believers tends to ramp up the troubles that we experience.

But the blessing of all of this…of knowing that our Triune God has many ways to reveal to us the simple fact that we are not alone…then we realize that there is something that we can cling to in the midst of these hardships…and in the long run…as difficult as it may be…God can and does use the hardships of our past to work in the future.

No one knows better than you what hardships lie in your life…in your existence…but rest assured that you are not alone in it…and God will find a way to reveal himself to you…may our eyes be opened to recognize His presence in whatever way we need to…whether its in the peaceful feeling of the sun shining on our face…or the joy in hearing just the right song and just the right time…or the presence of a caring person who is willing to sit there in silence with you in the midst of your pain…not trying to take it away…but just to sit there with you while it is experienced…God is present in the pain.

And so may you know today that no matter where you go when you walk outside of this room today, you will go with God…because God is already with you, whether you are looking for him or not…Vaya con dios my friends…Amen.

Haven’t We Heard This Before 1-10-16

This morning’s sermon for Baptism of Our Lord Sunday comes from Luke 3:15-17, 21-22. I explore the importance of Jesus’ baptism and the promises made for each one of us in our own.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:
https://soundcloud.com/revdalen/havent-we-heard-this-before-1-10-16

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

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

In any situation, when a person sets out to tell a story, no matter what form its in, every story can break down to one of three different plots. The person verses person…person verses the environment that they are in…and person verses themselves…that’s it…every single story line, in its most basic form will fall into one of those three categories.

And so, many story tellers will often report that there are no original stories…simply that every story is a variation on one of those three plots. And in recent history, no other medium highlights this notion as well as the movie industry. Considering that we are now into a new year, and me being a movie buff…I got a little geeky and looked up the top 10 grossing movies of last year…at least for here in the US…and here’s the list starting with number 10 moving up to number 1. See if you recognize these titles. Spectre, Cinderella, The Martian, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Minions, Furious 7, Inside Out, Avengers Age of Ultron, and the winner…Star Wars The Force Awakens. (pause)
Now…did you sense a trend? Out of those 10 movies, 1 is an original idea…1 is a nearly verbatim adaptation of a book, 1 is a live action remake of the very same story told in animated form, and the rest…7 of the top 10 films of the year…are sequels…and not only are they sequels, but they are increasingly far into different series. There is 1 part 2, 1 part 3, 2 part 4’s, 2 part SEVENS…and finally…the 24th…Bond Movie. (pause)

With these stats in mind…I believe that it is beyond debate…that Hollywood, is REALLY good…and telling the same story over again. Because in the end…particularly with movies…that’s what sequels do…they tell the same basic story with new details…period.

And I bring all of this up, because today’s gospel lesson reminds me of a sequel in many different ways. First off…because the opening portion of today’s gospel was featured just 4 weeks ago as we heard John the Baptist rattling on about NOT being the messiah, and pointing out the important differences between them. (pause) And secondly…because this story…the baptism of our Lord…is one of those stories that we hear, every year…there are a few different ones…Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, Transfiguration…and this one…the Baptism of our Lord.

Now, some of those stories are always the exact same gospel…Christmas for instance always comes out of Luke…others from that list will feature the same story but from a different gospel…and today, the baptism of Jesus…well it falls into that second category. For the baptism of Jesus is mentioned in all four gospels…even John gets in on it…but with the other gospels, Matthew Mark and Luke…the details surrounding the baptism are all pretty similar…there are a few differences here and there…but we see those differences within the lead up to the baptism itself…and when we get right down to the nitty gritty of the story…when we get down to the action featured here for Baptism of Our Lord Sunday…no matter which gospel, it’s the same deal…and here…I’ll read it again…the baptism of Jesus.

When all the people had been baptized, and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form and a voice came from heaven saying You are my beloved Son, in you I am well pleased. (pause)

Wait a sec…did we miss something? Was there a baptism in there…oh yah…Jesus was baptized…talk about a throw away comment…but, I guess it is in there that Jesus was in fact baptized…even if every one of the gospels almost glosses over it…they all do tell us that it happened…but then…in all four gospels…we hear about what happens next…it’s the same old story…SLIGHTLY different details…just like movie sequels.

But you know what…the focus that all four gospels gives on this next part is probably a pretty good indication that we should sit up and pay attention…for following the baptism of Jesus…the heavens open up…and the Holy Spirit shows up with some sort of physical form…one of only 2 times in scripture when this happens…and the Spirit comes upon Jesus…but that’s not all…and we hear, once again, each and every year…the voice of God the Father…You are my son the beloved, in you I am well pleased. (pause)
This moment…this one story, told from different perspectives…is the ONLY time in the entire Bible…when we have all three members of the Holy Trinity present and accounted for. The voice of the father, proclaiming to the world the identity of the Son, who now harbors the Holy Spirit. 1 God in three persons, all of them here. (pause) And let me remind you of the occasion…this all happens because Jesus is baptized…

So what is it about this story…that is so significant…what is it about this story that led the different authors of the gospel to line up some precisely with the details of what has happened…what is that causes us to talk about it, each and every year? (pause)

Great questions…especially when we stop and think about baptism as a whole. For it was nothing new at that time. John was simply utilizing an old Jewish practice to symbolize the purification of the sin that they had repented of…but then John tells the people, when they claim him as the messiah…that no…the Messiah will still baptize you…but it will be different…He will still purify you…but in a way that we can never do…With the Holy Spirit and with fire. (pause)
And we all know that the practice of baptism has continued…most of us in this room, if not all of us…have been baptized…and interestingly enough, at first glance it almost seems like our baptisms are closer to John’s…for we use water don’t we? There’s no fire here…and thankfully so because I don’t think any of us would react very well to being dipped in fire would we? (pause)

But here’s the thing…something that I talked about a few weeks back when this passage came up…something I talked about a year ago when this story was featured…something I talk about in every baptism class with new parents seeking baptism for their child…something I talk about for 2 class periods with the confirmation students…and something that discuss with individuals on a constant basis…
Jesus has taken baptism…and through the ordinary element of water, God does something impossible…God does something new…God does something different…and somehow, someway…in ways that we can neither physically see or understand…God is able to purify us with fire…through the power of the Holy Spirit…in the same baptism perfected by Christ…and just as Christ experienced death and resurrection, we are given the promise in the waters of our baptism that we have joined with Christ in baptism like his…and likewise we join with Christ in a death like his, for the waters of our baptism drown the sinful self and we rise out of that water…with new life…a new creation…and as such we claim the promise that we will join with Christ in a resurrection like his. (pause)
This is the work that God is up to in the waters of our baptisms…its nothing that we do…its nothing that the parents or the sponsors…or relatives or friends…and certainly, this is not the work of the individual who is baptized…this is the work of God…and this is a wonderful thing…that we do…and we do it…because Christ himself told us to…

I mentioned before, that this is the one time when the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are all present and accounted for…but there is one more time when all three are named…and it happens in the great commission when Jesus tells us to Go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…one God in three persons.

And we invoke all three for a very specific purpose…remembering that it is not us who does the work…But we are baptized in the name of the Father who created us in the first place…in the name of the Son who redeems us through his death and resurrection…and in the name of the Holy Spirit who comes upon us in our baptism to unite us as individuals into the one body of Christ…and to empower us to be the church…to be the body here on earth until such time that Christ shall return and we will join together in his resurrection.

And this…is a very big deal…something worth remembering…something worth clinging to…and that is why we tell this story every year…remembering that Christ was baptized so that in the waters of our baptism we might join with him…and as God calls Jesus his beloved Son…God is also pleased to claim us as individuals, through our baptisms as His beloved child.

We cling to this promise…in all things…we cling to the hope found in the promise when we face the reality of death, that it does not get the last word…we cling to the promise that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus…not even our failings…and so we remember…and as Martin Luther said…every day when you wash your face, remember your baptism…live in the promise that God has given you that you belong to him…that he has claimed you…and yes, we’ve all heard this before…but it is worth hearing it again….because this same old story…is the best news that we can ever receive. Amen

Its Not Over 6-15-14

This sermon is based on Matthew 28:16-20. This is the story of the Great Commission and I explore it from the perspective of the Holy Trinity, which was also celebrated today. You can listen to the sermon here.
https://soundcloud.com/revdalen/its-not-over-6-15-14

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here.

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

Over the course of the past few years, I’ve noticed a trend that has emerged at the movie theater. As a self-professed movie buff, I have sat through a lot of movies…and for the vast majority of them, reaching all the way back to the very first movie I can ever remember watching…which was Lady and the Tramp by the way…when the picture faded out and the credits started rolling, everyone in the theater stood up, got their stuff together and started filing towards the exit.

But that’s all starting to change, particularly in terms of a certain genre of movies…the uber popular comic book movie…recently I took my son to the see the latest installment in the popular X-men franchise…and I noticed when the movie faded out and the credits started rolling…quite a few people remained in their seats…just sitting there…staring at the credit roll…and if you wondering…yes, we were doing the very same thing.

We did so, because like everyone else still sitting in the theater, we expected there to be a post-credits scene…this little bit of added story is getting more and more common anymore…particularly in franchise films, as the studios want to tease up the next installment…keeping audiences teased up at what is happening within the larger movie universe. (pause)

Now, while this tendency has really only caught on in the past few years, really catching on when Samuel L Jackson appeared post credits in the first Iron Man movie back in 2008, the actual idea has been around quite a bit longer.

The very first time I ever found a post-credits scene was the popular 80’s movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off…and it was clearly intended to be a joke…following the day long antics of a high school senior that decides one last skip day is order before graduating…the credits roll…but in the off chance that you sat through them in the theater, or more likely…forgot to push stop on your vcr when it came out on video…the credits wrapped up…and suddenly, Ferris himself popped around the corner with a confused look on his face. He walks towards the camera… “You’re still here? It’s over…go home…go” and then he walks back around the corner before the screen cuts to black…because it is…truly…over at that point.

I found myself thinking about the notion of post credit scenes this week…simply because of the situation that we find in the gospel lesson…the great commission…a well-known passage…one that points to the importance of mission work and evangelism…but significant this week simply because of where it falls here in the Gospel of Matthew. (pause)

Smack dab at the end…Matthew has spent this entire time…27 chapters sharing the story of Jesus…the story that culminated in his death on the cross…and now, finally in chapter 28…he comes back…and over the course of this final chapter in Matthew’s gospel the women find the tomb empty…are instructed to tell the disciples that Jesus will meet them in Galilee…and the women aren’t told just once but twice…and then sure enough…when the disciples heed the command made by Jesus and relayed by the women…they find themselves in Galilee here…at the end of the story.

And this brief encounter between the disciples and the risen Jesus Christ…this short passage, 5 little verses, packs a heck of a wallop…and rightly so because everything that has happened up to this point…everything that’s occurred…every detail, every teaching moment, every miracle, every sermon he’s preached, every person he’s healed, every command he has given has led up to this point…and we see at this point, that Jesus is handing off the reigns to the disciples.

Jesus makes 5 distinct statements…first off…All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…and Jesus has proved that…the miraculous things that he has done in the presence of the disciples stands in proof of his divine authority…and none more prominently than the display of God’s authority over death itself, when Jesus walked out of that tomb…resurrected and alive.

And so Jesus has all authority, so we ask the question of just what he does with it…well, he sends the disciples…and this is not the first time that he’s done it…earlier in the gospel we hear that Jesus sends out the disciples two by two into the towns that he also planned to go…and now, once again…he tells them Go…and not just that, but go and make disciples of all nations…all nations…all around the world…all manner of people…because God desires to draw all people to himself.

Well, okay Jesus…so you have all authority and you want us to go make disciples…well, just how do we do that? Quite simply…baptize them. Jesus issues the command that creates the sacrament…why do we baptize? Because Jesus told us to.

But what do we do with them once we’ve baptized them Jesus? Teach them to obey all that I have commanded you…and that’s the key right there…that’s why this passage needs to fall here at the end of the story…that’s why Jesus has spent all this time…all this energy…teaching the disciples so many things…because now he is entrusting his divinely given authority to them… (pause)

Now its important to note that Jesus did not give them their own authority…he entrusted them with his…because the disciples and all believers ever since have proclaimed the same gospel…the same truth…and the same commandments that Jesus himself uttered…we are simply heralds of Christ’s own authority…but not just Christ’s…oh no…Did you catch that?

Jesus says that we are to do all of this in the name of the Father…and of the Son…and of the Holy Spirit…because all authority comes from God…and we believe that our God is the mighty three in one…One God, three persons…and so we see here that Jesus proclaims the truth of the trinity…even if he doesn’t really explain it very well, we know that it is true because he has told us. (pause)

But that’s not all that Jesus tells us…there’s one more thing too…a promise…an assurance that as the disciples go out into every nation…as they venture out to proclaim the gospel…as they go out to make disciples, baptize them, and teach Jesus’ own commandments…Jesus promises that I am with you always…even to the end of the age.

The disciples receive the promise…and so do we…that Jesus is here now and always…and I find that interesting, here at the close of Matthew’s Gospel…think about it for a moment…we find ourselves at the end of the story, and yet through this promise of Christ, we know that it is not the end….Here at the end of the story we find that the story isn’t over…it goes on…and we are a part of it, because we have received the same gospel…we have shared in the same baptism…and we have heard the same commandments…and so we know that Jesus’s words to the disciples are intended for us today as well. (pause)

We share in the same mission, just as we share in the same savior. And its reassuring to know that the faith granted to the disciples is granted by the same holy spirit that comes upon us within the baptism that we all share…and just as the disciples did when they saw the resurrected Jesus for the first time on that mountain in galilee…when they witness the fulfillment of the promise that he had made them that he would go ahead of them and meet them there…when they saw that it was true…they worshipped him…

Likewise…we gather together today, not only in the name of Jesus, but in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit to do the very same…to worship our lord and savior…to worship our creator…and to worship the spirit which grants the ability to believe in the first place…and in gathering together today I believe we are gathering together with all believers around the world today…and not only that, but with all believers across time…one body with many members…connected together through the love of God expressed through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And just as the scripture tells us that there was doubt within the disciples, we know that doubt enters our reality as well…but just as the disciples followed the command of Jesus in the midst of their doubts and fears and questions…we are called to do the same in the midst of our doubts and fears and questions…

Their presence does not negate the truth of the gospel…rather it pushes us to continue seeking out better understanding from the source…from the authority from Almighty God…three in one…Like the disciples we are first called and sent by the Holy Spirit to bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ through the proclamation of word and the sharing the sacraments for the sake of the world which God first created and loves so much.[1]

And we must also remember Jesus words…that through all of this, he is with us, even to the end of the age…The story isn’t over…not by a long shot…but we are part of it…we share in it…

And so today…if Ferris Bueller walks around the corner with an inquisitive look on his face and says “You’re still here?” You can rely “You bet we are.” And if he tells you to go home, you can say “Home? Nah…but we are heading out there.” And if he says “It’s over,” you can tell him… “Not by a long shot…And let me tell you why…” Amen.

 

[1] Lose, David, Dear Working Preacher: Trinitarian Congregations, http://www.workingpreacher.org/craft.aspx?m=4377&post=3254