Travelling Companions of the Cross Lesson 6: Will We Be Companions to Whom He Was?
Travelling Companions of the Cross
Lesson 6: Will We Be Companions to Whom He Was?
† I.H.S. †
But Wisdom is shown to be right by its results
That last line of the gospel reading is interesting to me.
“Wisdom is shown to be right by its results.”
It sounds at first, like an intellectual version of faith without works is dead. And the more I think about it, the more I realize it is not the intellectual version of faith without works is dead, it simply is the same statement.
Not the normal phrase to preach on, as we celebrate the 498th anniversary of Martin Luther insisting that we aren’t saved by works, but simply by having faith in God.
Having faith in God =Trusting in God = Depending on God = Wisdom.
And that trust, that wisdom, is seen as our lives, and our hearts and minds, are transformed into the likeness of Christ.
We aren’t saved by our works, or our results, or even our knowledge. Wisdom knows this!
But all of those are evidence of our relationship with God.
That is the reason He saves us. To have a relationship with us!
So let us see how that is recognized in our lives.
When I hear Jesus describe the generation of the apostles, I realize our generation doesn’t get it any more than they did back then.
They got everything backward, they didn’t repent when they should, and they didn’t celebrate when God brought together what should be together. Heck, they didn’t even know how to play, to pretend, to imagine what the future held.
That is why they criticized John the Baptist for calling for people to be united to God, and why they criticized Jesus for celebrating that fact that God dwelt among His people.
Would we welcome them? If so, their sin?
Which brings about an interesting question.
Would we be companions to the people Jesus was a companion too? Would we be worried if people thought we were drunkards, I mean, the glutton thing is hard to deny. What would people say if they knew the pastor of this church enjoyed hanging out with politicians, or drunks, or people whose morals were loose, heck if they were non-existent? Would there be a scandal, if the world knew the leaders of this church hung out with a bunch of dirty rotten sinners?
I mean – wait – would it be really any different than any other week around here?
This place is a place for broken people to celebrate that God has given up on them. To find in God, the Lord, who would heal them, and love them. Who would draw them back to Him? That is what the church is supposed to be, a place where a sinner haunted by his sin like Luther was could find respite in the cross.
Where the church was supposed to share God’s mercy, they didn’t. They didn’t offer comfort to those who were broken by sin, by the loneliness that sins can often result in, for sin divides.
Would we welcome the broken? Would we celebrate their being here?Would we help them realize he healing, comforting presence of God in their lives? Would we celebrate with them as God makes them His own?
That calls for a feast – and so we shall!
That may make us different from the world, and even from other churches.
But it isn’t just the comforting of those broken by sin… it is calling people who need to, to repent.
Not the ones already broken by sin, but those who play God, or who hide their brokenness, or ignore and deny it. For Jesus called people to repentance as much as He comforted the broken.
The difference is he called to repentance those who others believed were holy and perfect. Those who pretended they were good and faithful. We need to repent, allow Jesus to heal our brokenness and forgive our sins.
We need to mourn, and we need to dance, we need to repent, and we need to celebrate the love of the Lord who draws us to Him.
Not crush the sinners and applaud the self-righteous….
But to let the Holy Spirit draw the self-righteous to repentance, and lift the prodigal, broken and desperate to the throne of God, to be welcomed home to a feast.
The Reformation – these can be saved.. and so can we…
You see, that was what the Reformation was about.
The theology was important, but more important was helping the church realize that our lives are to be like Jesus Christ’s. We’ve been anointed in our baptism, united to Him, not only because God wants us to be holy, but because He wants the world to be Holy, and He will use us to draw people to Jesus.
To bring sinners into grace, to help the self-righteous to realize that they are sinners, so they too can know the grace, the love and mercy of God.
That was Luther’s issue…it drove him crazy thinking he couldn’t be forgiven. It didn’t just bother him; he was driven nuts, screaming late into the night, trying to find some hope, some sense of love.
The goal of the reformation then was to help people know the peace He found, the peace we each need to find… the peace of Christ given to us because God loved us enough for Jesus to come and die on the cross.
The results of God’s wisdom was our being saved, sinners being comforted. Broken folks being healed…
I said earlier in the sermon, one of the problems of the self-righteous was that they wouldn’t play because they don’t have the ability to imagine that which they can’t see, especially the future.
The humble, the broken, simply struggle and hear the hope of God’s love, of a life of peace, and they can’t think of everything else.
There is a time to mourn our sin, to mourn the brokenness and death….
And there is a time to feast, to celebrate the love of a God who dwells in our midst…
Because He is here… AMEN