An Impressive Resume
That’s an Impressive Resume!
† Jesus, Son, Deliverer †
May we realize and reveal the depth of God’s grace, that mercy and love He pours out on us, until the day He returns for us.
We’re Looking for a Good Man
Well, here we are, at the end of another church year.
We’ve endured a lot this year, as we have in year’s past. We’ve endured because of God’s work in our midst, without which I don’t think we would have survived.
We’ve also had a number of great moments, like the baptisms, the weddings and the Combined services Sunday, and every week that we’ve knelt at this altar together, and received the blessings of Christ’s Body and Blood. They are great moments, not just because we are together, but because we’ve been brought together in the presence of God Almighty, who brings us together in those moments.
As we go into the next church year, as the weeks of advent lead to Christmas, and Ash Wednesday is followed by Lent and Easter and Pentecost, as we endure the summer months, we have to know that the one person that completes our community is here. The person that can bring it altogether, that will lead us as we try to change the world, by bringing it to the cross. He is necessary if we are to change our community by bringing it healing where it is broken, He will always be the only irreplaceable person at Concordia.
We must remember as well where to find Him at work and at home (especially those recently retired!) so that we can follow His lead.
Our epistle this morning presents His resume, His qualifications, this Son of God, this One who existed before all creation, this Man through all things were created and in whom they are created. This One who is the Alpha and Omega, who carries not just a team on His back, but all of creation.
Of all of this, what makes Him so essential to us here at Concordia, to ministry here in Cerritos and in each of our homes and workplaces,
So let us see why Jesus is qualified to be “the” person here. Why we need Him to be our… auditor.
Some messed up books
Someone made the comment this week, that 50 years ago a president gave an order to send a man to the moon, and it was done. Another president has given a order to create a web-based program to help people choose insurance, and they cannot. I thought it ironic, because all of the computers in Houston 50 years ago couldn’t add up to the power of my tablet computer, maybe even my phone today.
The person we have to depend on here at Concordia has a slightly larger job. To track the sins of at least 15 billion people, and give an accounting for them. To keep a set of books that are accurate not to 99.999999 percent – but perfectly.
If I make a rough estimate that the average age of a person in history is 50, that means tracking 2 quintrillion 190 quadrillion sins (190,000,000,000,000,000) That’s a lot of bookkeeping!
That weight of sin is incredible, the amount of damage we have done to each other, and to ourselves. It’s a mess that cannot be hidden, it can’t be ignored. Society has for too long been narcissistic, it has too long encouraged sin, it has too long said that to challenge sin is something we shouldn’t do, because it’s none of our damned business. Yet the brokenness is there. You see it in the commercials like I saw that night, where a man who was getting engaged bought a necklace for his fiancé’s daughter. Are broken marriages that common that we market to the kids of them now?
Yet these broken lives that are the result of sin, that is our business. We’ve been sent to bring them Christ’s healing! To help heal the relationships that the world would rather justify walking away from, as if somehow they can escape the pain.
We can’t, and neither can we deal with it on our own… we need someone with, as they say today, skillz. Someone we trust
So we need the ultimate accountant/reconciler
There is some incredible theology in this passage of Colossians, As Jesus is described in the second paragraph, the incredible majesty and glory is described in language that should leave us in awe. That is not where Christ’s qualifications to fix everything are best shown.
The part I would draw you attention to is in the first and third paragraphs, and in the last line of the second.
There we find accounting language, the language of books and audits, profit and loss, the language of running the fiscal operations of a major business, or a kingdom. Consider these phrases,
He “re-established” us! Where we were a liability, in the red in debt and under the power of darkness, He re-established us, put us in another column – as assets of the Kingdom of heaven1
He redeemed us, purchasing our debt of sin and cancelling it – dismissed the debt – wrote it off.
He reconciled everything (not just us) within Himself.
He restored the books to their proper manner – everything balancing out, everything in good order. Repeatedly in this passage are words related to the word for place. Moving us from one column to another, sending that which was our sin to a place far away from us. He restores us and reveals us to be not just something God values but treasures, as we are God treasured children. Something He treasured so much that Christ would give everything He had to make us the Father’s children, to restore in us the very image of God in which we are created.
And how he does it…
What is so amazing, is that Jesus, in maintaining the books of heaven, in judging who performs the audits, does so in a way that is well unconventional. He doesn’t consider the value or the cost, he doesn’t care if our “red ink” was 200 or 400 thousand sin.
He doesn’t just ignore the debt, or write it off and declare bankruptcy. He doesn’t handle it with analytical precision, but by drawing us into to His own death, His blood covering all of the sin completely. His blood cleansing us, reconciling us, purchasing us, moving us from being a liability, a mark in the power of darkness, and re-establishing us in the kingdom of God as a asset, as a valued treasure.
As it say in the last verse – we are set apart as His – made His alone, for that is the definition of Holiness, and beyond censure, we are without a single fault to be called upon.
That’s the way God does accounting, embracing us with all of our debt, bringing us back in Christ, That’s why there is the picture that there is on the front cover – with Jesus embracing a man who cannot go any further, who cannot bring himself to the cross.
For that, beyond everything else Christ is, is what amazes me the most. That He comes to us, that He reconciles us, that He pulls us into Himself, and carries our burdens, the things that cause us anxieties, our sins, and our very lives.
That is why Jesus is essential to our work here, no matter who pastors our congregations, no matter who our elders are, no matter who comes and sits in the pews, no matter how great the sin is.
We are gathered here by Him, even as He will on the last day, the day which the last Sunday of the Church year focuses. It is the reason we bow and worship, why we glorify Him.
It’s the reason this place, is His place, where our voices praise His name, where He pours out His gifts on us….It’s the reason He is our irreplaceable person, this Chief Reconciliation Officer, this Lord, this Savior, this King of Kings!
Where He makes us at home, in His peace. AMEN!