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1-20-19 Sermon

Sunday, January 20, 2019 Sanctity of Life Sunday

 

Divisions of one kind or another, continue to grow in our country and in the world, as people increasingly look at one another not as people created in the image of God, with value, but as inconveniences to be avoided, or opponents to defeat.

 

In such a culture, speaking words of life seems like talking into the wind. For a world that turns to death as an answer, does so because it has lost all other hope; because it sees no other way; having no other choices.

But we do have another choice.

We have a Savior who gives us hope.

A Savior who forgives our sin when we have messed up in life.

A Savior who gives strength when we are weak, when life beats us down.

A Savior who gives the promise of life when we’re surrounded by death.

Israel needed that hope so God sent Isaiah to speak to them. The kingdom was divided, idolatry was rampant, and foreign nations threatened war.

It’s not a whole lot different in our country and the world today. Yet Isaiah says: For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet. The time is coming when you shall no more be Forsaken, and your land shall no more be Desolate.

Things were still difficult after Isaiah preached those words, but because God does not forsake His people there was hope. He is with us and for us, even in the darkest and most difficult times.

It’s easy - to criticize and condemn those who turn to death for an answer. We’re quick to point fingers at those who make the laws or fail to enforce them. When life is so messy and hard and frightening that suicide, euthanasia, or abortion – look good, somebody has dropped the ball. We are the church, called to go forth into the world, to fulfill our calling as the people of God and the body of CHRIST.

 

There may be a temporary relief when unexpected pregnancy ends, or a disease-ridden body struggles no more, when loneliness and despair come to an end - but what about the next struggle? What about the guilt? The regrets that often come? What then? More death?

 

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet. In the face of death, the Church is responsible to speak a message of hope.

 

In the Gospel from John 2:1-11, for today Mary knew where to turn for help, for hope--she turns to Jesus. Now, compared to all the life issues we’re facing today, running out of wine may not seem like much of a problem at all. And maybe by comparison, it isn’t. But let me assure you, problems great or small--life or death, Jesus is there to help us. He manifested His glory, John says. He-- the LORD of creation, came to help even the least of these.

 

It seems strange that Jesus tells His mother: My hour has not yet come, but then does what she wanted…OR is He talking about something else, something greater, something that would also happen on the 3rd day? Jesus is talking about His own wedding feast, when He would be the bridegroom rejoicing over His Bride, the Church.

The rejoicing that would come when He defeats death in His resurrection from the dead, and takes home His Bride to the Feast that will have no end. Just as He provided for the wedding in Cana, so He will provide what is needed for His own - the forgiveness and cleansing of His Bride, and the joy of a life free from sin, death, and evil.

With Jesus there is always hope - death is not the answer - the One who defeated death is the only answer. The One who forgives, the One who holds all power over creation in His hands, is the one to whom we must turn.

 

And that’s the message we proclaim to those with life issues. For the God of life has entered our lives while we are under the curse of sin and death-- to give us life again.

 

That's not to say all our troubles will come to an end—because we still live in a sinful world. But it does mean that He is with us, as He was at Cana, and that we have hope.

So live the life that has been given to you in Jesus name as a blessing to others.

-- point people to the hope we have in Christ.

-- speak words of forgiveness to those wracked with guilt.

--love the unloved, hold the hand of the unwanted.

God continues to give life and to redeem life. And He will continue to bless your life, as only He can, just as He did that day at Cana.

 

You’re here in this place, at this time, to be this Body of Christ we call St Luke’s Lutheran Church--to be our LORD’s blessing to each other and to the world. And never lose hope: the best is yet to come. Amen