The Rev. Thomas Nibbe
Sunday, August 15, 2021
Today…Holy Communion @ Holy CrossLutheran Church in Pacifica, CALast Sunday…We rejoiced in the Holy Baptism ofIsla Dawn Belingheri, Ella Ann Matias,and Ryland Patrick Sheedy in the nameof the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.THE SCRIPTURES FOR TODAY
“…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…the oil of gladness instead of mourning…and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…they will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord, for the display of His splendor…”(Isaiah 61:7-11)
“…the Lord is close to the brokenhearted andsaves those who are crushed in spirit…thefaithful may have many problems, but the Lorddelivers those faithful people from them all…”(Psalm 34:1-9)
“…God sent His Son, born of a woman, bornunder law, to redeem those under law, thatwe might receive the full rights of sons…”(Galatians 4:4-7)
“…but the eyes of the Lord are on those whowho revere Him…on those whose hope is inHis unfailing love…to deliver them from deathand keep them alive in famine…”(Psalm 33:18-19)
“…He has performed mighty deeds with His arm;He has scattered those who are proud in theirinmost thoughts…He’s brought down rulers fromtheir thrones, but has lifted up the humble…”(Luke 1:46-55)
Pray with me today: Gracious Lord and Savior.Once again we commend our lives and fortunesinto your faithful hands. Forgive us all our sinsin Jesus’ name. Lead us not into temptation andtake not your Holy Spirit from us. Restore us inthese difficult days. We acknowledge your loveand guidance and protection always. In Jesus,Amen.
Grace and peace to you. I’m really loving the appointed lessons for this Sunday. Yes, I’mrejoicing in God, my Savior, because of thesepassages. Verses like the ones noted here provide just what’s needed to get throughdifficult times…and these are difficult timesfor us all…difficult for one reason or the other.
Where could we go…but to the Lord!
When I read the words of the 61st chapter ofIsaiah the Prophet, I’m uplifted no matter whatmy circumstance…in times of stress, troublegreat disappointment, personal emotional orphysical pain, this Scripture brings us through.
(to provide for those who grieve in Zion)
“…a crown of beauty instead of ashes…the oil of gladness instead of mourning…and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…”
That is our destiny…beauty for ashes…gladness instead of mourning…rejoicinginstead of one of our greatest enemies,that being, despair…
When we fall into despair, we have nohope. All seems dismal and lost. Thereis no worse place to be in. Trust me, weall have times like this in our life. We candepend on no earthly comfort or help…We turn to the Lord, sometimes withouteven knowing what we is happening. Yes.The Lord comes through for us. His perfectlove tosses fear and despair out.
I’ve personally known extremely wealthy,extremely intelligent, extremely popular,and extremely successful persons in my lifewho don’t have any time for the Lord, no timefor religion, no need for faith, no need forspirituality, no need to contribute to charity…
In the events of a life, things happen. The Lorddoesn’t cause misfortune, but He obviously allowsit to happen. There is often no where to turn…at least…not in a worldly way. Despair sets in. All seems lost. In a sense, there is truth in termsof “all being lost”. There is purpose in this. Itmay be the Lord’s way of “cleansing” the soul.The Lord makes His presence, and His wonderfulcompassion known to the victim. Truly, a Spiritual being is born. Some call this experience, being”born again”, a new lease on life. It’s kind of like what Jesus talks about in the 3rd chapter of John’s Gospel. My thoughts then, after all these years, godirectly to the 4th chapter of Luke’s Gospel, whereJesus quotes this very passage, and then declares…
“…today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing…”(Luke 4:20)
Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it back tothe attendant, and sat down. The passage saysthat the eyes of everyone in the synagogue werefastened on Him…Did they understand what weunderstand concerning Jesus as the Christ, theSon of the Living God, the fulfillment of prophecy in the church today? I think not…
In consideration of that thought, are we affirmingand acknowledging those God has put into ourmidst in these days. Do we respect our fellowChristians and recognize their own personal “anoiting” in the Lord. It may not be the anoiting granted to Jesus, as the Son of God, but we’reall called and singled out by the Holy Spirit to fulfill our own unique calling…within the largerfamily of faith. There is no call too small…
I note on occasion of Jesus’ announcement regardingIsaiah’s prophecy that His hearers begin to put Jesusdown. It may be the tendency in human circles, butlet it not happen in our church communities, especiallywhen it comes to other persons in our church body.
Every single Christian is called to a unique ministry in Jesus. Jesus knew His. We need to confirm what our call is, (and what it was always supposed to be). The appeal of this kind of Christianity is not justbeing a member of the church, but rather, a true disciple of Christ Jesus, living out our specific servanthood. We all have a unique ministry to live out, and through this personal sense of ministry we are made whole in Christ, and you and make the church body whole. When we fail to live up to that calling in ministry the Church of Christ suffers greatly. That’s because every single Christian has a unique ministry and calling that fulfills the mission of the church body. When you or I fall short of thisresponsibility the Church of Jesus suffers…
Four years ago I stood, transfixed, in that samesynagogue in Capernaum, thinking about the7th Century BC prophecy and its fulfillment onon that day when Jesus read from the scroll…
The flame of the Spirit within me became ignited by the thought of God’s great faithfulness from age to age…and supremely so…in these times.We cannot escape the pandemic, no matter where we might go. We must be on our guard at all times. We must be thoughtful. We must be consistent. We must be careful. We take full account of the precautions to be observed, but we have that certain peace in our hearts encouraging us through God’s Word. There isnothing on earth more precious and trustworthythan knowing that the Lord is in our lives andwill be faithful to assist us and to save us no matter the situation.
Saint John is encouraging, (John 4:18):”…His perfect love casts out fear…”
From age to age the saving power of Christ Jesus is there to assure us in these very manifestly uncertain times, and also tragic times as well. Ultimately, we cannot trustanything of this world for certain, but we cantrust in the Lord, no matter what happens.