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Archive for April 5th, 2020

Christ the Redeemer statue shows coronavirus support with light show

Sermon Text: “Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” St. Matthew 21

“Behold, your King is coming to you…”.  Today is the Advent of our King.  The other time in the Church Year we point to Palm Sunday is the season of Advent.  The Hymn of Invocation is an Advent hymn:

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne

Also in the advent hymn, Prepare the Royal Highway:

God’s people, see Him coming:
Your own eternal king!
Palm branches strew before Him!
Spread garments! Shout and sing!
God’s promise will not fail you!
No more shall doubt assail you! 

Hosanna to the Lord,
For He fulfills God’s Word!

“Behold, your King is coming to you…”. This is the joy of Christmas.  He came humble, born of the blessed Virgin.  The angels sang to the lowly shepherds the song of heaven, Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men of good will. Hosanna to the Lord,
For He fulfills God’s Word!

“Behold, your King is coming to you…”.  This is the joy of Palm Sunday, He is coming toward Jerusalem, to save the daughter of Zion.

All glory, laud, and honor 
to you, Redeemer, King, 
to whom the lips of children 
made sweet hosannas ring.

Yet the true and only King will be cast out of David’s royal city and crucified. Not as some sort of symbol, or performance art, or solidarity with the current out group, but to and for all, all are sinners, out of God’s will to finally and fully atone for the sin of the world.

Hosanna to the Lord,
For He fulfills God’s Word!

“Behold, your King is coming to you…”.  This is narrative of Good Friday as He came to us in the strange and alien country of sin and death amidst the temptations of the evil one.  We begin to feel this alien country in this time of viral quarantine. The sun darkened at midday and the moon turn to blood as the very Author of life shed His life blood for the sin of the world, bent in upon itself.  As He went to the tomb of Lazarus and the stench of death, He went into death itself. “We adore You, O Lord, and we praise and glorify Your resurrection. For behold, by the wood of the cross joy has come into all the world.” As the Lord said, For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son…” The photo above is Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro.  It is lit with the flags of the nations affected by coronavirus. It is a good reminder also of the Lord who bore the sin of the world in all nations. Note that many of the nations had at one time a self-understanding that they are Christians nations. Note the color which stands out in the flags, including our own:  red.  This can remind us of two things:  the blood of Christ shed this week for the life of the world and for the fire of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit teaching us Christ and to love the Lord and our neighbor, against whom we sin daily.  So we believe and are relieved in true and joyful repentance of our sin.  Joy is buried deep in Jesus in the tomb, the pearl of great price, priceless, in the earth. As He said the grain of wheat which dies and lives. “…on that day of deepest darkness, our God was loving the world, loving you and me and all who fail Him again and again. He was loving us by giving His only Son into that horrid death so that our hate-filled, violent, rebellious race might be pardoned and given a life without end in His kingdom.”- Pr. Matt Harrison

Hosanna to the Lord,
For He fulfills God’s Word
!

“Behold, your King is coming to you…”.  The Lord comes to us on Easter morning, the joy of all joy.  The disciples found His grave cloths, neatly folded and the tomb emptied.  The Lord did not and would never need those grave cloths, so we be clothed in Him baptized into Him. Hosanna to the Lord,
For He fulfills God’s Word!

“Behold, your King is coming to you…”.  God came to us at Pentecost. God the Holy Spirit comes to all in their Baptism to fill us, teach us, reach us and reach out through with Jesus Christ in the glory of God the Father.  Y’all are temples of the Holy Spirit bound together Monday through Saturday in the living tether of the Holy Spirit.  And like the great whale, we come out of the deep at least once a week for air, for the breath of the Holy Spirit in the Divine Service, and divine Bible study.

For Christ bore our sins, and not his own, When he on the cross was hanging; And then he arose and moved the stone, That we, unto him belonging, Might join with angelic hosts to raise Our voices in endless singing.

God came to us then at Pentecost, His Spirit new life revealing, That we might no more from Him be lost, All darkness for us dispelling. His flame will the mark of sin efface And bring to us all His healing.

Hosanna to the Lord,
For He fulfills God’s Word!

“Behold, your King is coming to you…”.  The Lord has come into our homes. 

Oh, blest the house, whate’er befall,
where Jesus Christ is all in all!
For if he were not dwelling there,
how dark and poor and void it were!

The yearly Palm Sunday question is:  Pastor, what do we do with the palms? In years past I have said put a palm leaf behind a cross or crucifix.  Now I encourage you: put the palm leaf on your front door as a sign that this too is also house of the Lord.  Here you can find in the quarantined land,  a house of prayer and welcome, food if needed, an ear to listen.  This is house of Scripture.  20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gate

Then here will I and mine today
a solemn cov’nant make and say:
though all the world forsake his Word,
my house and I will serve the Lord.

Hosanna to the Lord,
For He fulfills God’s Word
!

“Behold, your King is coming to you…”.  As the Church rightly summed up the doctrine of our Lord’s second coming every week: 

He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian* Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen
.

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy).  We await His coming in joy, the marriage feast of the Lamb and the Lamb and Shepherd gives us Himself, His Body and Blood,  the Kings comes in the Sacrament of Baptism and by every word that proceeds from His mouth. For a time we forgo His Mass with others as well for a while.

Hosanna to the Lord, For He fulfills God’s Word!

Now these are not several Advents but the one Advent of our King.  His Kingship is disputed even by churches.  Lord save us by Thy grace. What but Thy grace can save us in temptations’ hour?  His reign can not be compromised with the world as He did not compromise with the world but gave us in the world His promise of forgiveness and life with Him forever.

In the 16th century, King Henry the VIII, contemporary of Martin Luther, had as his Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas More.  More was a devout Christian and Roman Catholic. The King had beheaded one of his wives when she did not provide a male heir to the throne.  When the King wanted a second divorce, the Pope said no. Thomas More would not submit to the  King in the marriage matter.  The King stripped him of title and imprisoned him and finally had Sir Thomas More executed by beheading. Thomas More’s Last words were:  “I die the King’s good servant, and God’s first.”  The only way Thomas More could have rightly said that is that the true and only King died for us all. Henry the VIII saw Thomas More as a traitor. Thomas More was no traitor to the king but to the true and only King, as we all have been traitors to the true and only King.  We have rebelled to get our own ways, like sheep  gone astray, everyone to his own way and upon the true King the chastisement was laid that has made us whole. 

This King is lowly, not conquering kingdoms and nations with the weapons of man but by the weapons of the Spirit. “Behold, your King is coming to you, humble…”.  The other time the Lord used the word “humble” is in Matthew 11:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you restTake my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

This King is righteous and makes us righteous by faith in Him and His sacrifice for sinners.  He seeks not divorce and division and death, only our divorce from sin to make the way for God within, and gives Himself so that in Him we live eternally in His love shed mercifully…for traitors and so we live in His service.  He daily bids us, Come to Me. The Apostle Peter:  Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

Hosanna to the Lord,
For He fulfills God’s Word!

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