It’s all about Jesus
In a Series, The Future is Behind Us
Isaiah 63:7–14 // Galatians 4:4–7 // Matthew 2:13–23 // Hebrews 4:15–16
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our sermon text for today is from Matthew 2 and more, all centering on this sentiment, Matthew 2 verse 14, “This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.” Our text thus far.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
It’s all about Jesus. Today we consider the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and this extraordinary story of his young life, one that only Matthew records, the departure of the Magi, Jesus and the Holy Family fleeing from Judea to Egypt and from Egypt to Nazareth. Today we consider who Jesus was, why the Scriptures had to be fulfilled in this way for him and for Mary and for Joseph, and to what end Matthew records these events. Today we FIND ourselves getting LOST in the story of Jesus.
And when I think of that, I think of way back in Seminary school when I had a creative project. I wrote a little book and illustrated it, I printed it, and then someone asked for about 15 copies of it. And I tell you, making those was about the most fun that I’ve ever had. Writing and illustrating, printing and cutting, stitching and taping, I remember getting lost in the work, in the rhythm, getting lost in the action, I found myself getting lost in the story before me.
Three points for today as we find ourselves getting lost in how it’s all about Jesus. Three points for today and two directions in conclusion. First, Jesus goes where Israel has gone. Second Jesus succeeds even where Israel has failed. Third, Jesus dies as Israel’s ransom payment.
First, Jesus goes where Israel has (gone). Matthew makes that very clear in our text. That, he says is the reason behind the reason why Jesus and the holy Family go to Egypt.... yes, to escape the wrath of King Herod but even more to be walking in the steps of ancient Israel.
Israel had gone down to Egypt to escape famine and came back named as God’s firstborn son, bought and paid for by the Passover Feast and by the Parting of the Red Sea. Jesus, God’s own son from the very beginning, follows the course of the people Israel down to Egypt and back again. He goes where Israel has gone.
Or, to say it in a different way, this new thing that God is doing in Jesus is not so different from the way God has worked in the past. There are themes to God’s work. The work feels familiar even when God does something new. Or, perhaps to say it best, as Numbers says, as James says, as Isaiah says, as Malachi says, as the Psalms say, God does not change, and it’s always been all about Jesus. He has laid out Jesus’s path in a way that is consistent with his work in all time, and every action of Jesus in the Gospel carries with it echoes of all the ways God has already worked. It’s all about Jesus, and Jesus goes where Israel has gone.
Second, Jesus succeeds even where Israel has (failed). Israel went to Egypt because the children of Israel sold Joseph into slavery, but “what you desired for evil, God worked out for the good of many.” The Holy Family goes to Egypt in obedience to an angel of the Lord. Israel left Egypt with fear in their hearts, longing to go back to their former masters. The Holy Family goes back in obedience to what God had commanded succeeding where Israel had stumbled.
Even beyond our text for today, we find this to be true. Israel had been tempted 40 years in the desert, but “they rebelled and grieved God’s Holy Spirit.” Jesus, in just the next chapter, starts his ministry by going out in to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil himself for 40 days, withstanding temptation when Israel had failed.
Israel received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, and they were not able follow them, even the moment after they were given. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expands those commandments. He raises the bar. He increases the requirements of God’s Law, and he keeps them, every little bit.
Israel was to be a light lifted up among the nations that would draw all peoples to the One True God, but in the end they were scattered and lost. Jesus was lifted up on a cross on Calvary, drawing all of the sin of the whole world to rest upon his shoulders.
It’s all about Jesus, and Jesus succeeds even where Israel has failed.
Third, Jesus dies as Israel’s (ransom payment). Great Exodus event where God frees Israel from 400 years of slavery was a great and mighty work, but in the end, it was merely a sign of something greater. What is that greater thing? God had ransomed Israel from Egypt in the first Exodus, and in the second Exodus, God ransoms all believers from death.
The author to the Hebrews sums it all up like this, in chapter 4: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Dear friends in Christ, Jesus is the ransom payment that all of Israel points to. Jesus is the promise of Israel, the hope of Israel. Jesus is the point of Israel, that God would be drawing all people to himself in Jesus, that God would be blessing all the nations through Jesus, that God would be placing the whole of his Divinity into Jesus to be tempted in every way, to cry all of our tears, to suffer as we suffer, to rejoice as we rejoice, to live as humanity lives so that by his death, we might live. He sympathizes with our weaknesses. He reigns over us on a throne of grace.
OK, Pastor Muther, that’s great, but what’s the payoff? What does this all mean? The author to the Hebrews gives us two directions in the end: Let us receive mercy. Let us find grace to help in time of need.
Direction number one: In light of all of this, let us receive mercy. Or, in other words, we look (back). We look back to know what we’ve known from our mother’s knee. We look back to hear the Word of God that we’ve always known and realize that the Christian journey is more a journey deeper than it is a journey beyond. That is the direction of the Christian life. We look back to find ourselves lost a little bit more in the wonder of the Christ-child, in the audacity of his grace, in the poetry of his salvation.
Direction number two: Let us find grace to help in time of need. Or, in other words, we look (around). Whether Mary and Joseph were in Egypt, in Bethlehem, or in Nazareth, their calling was the same. Whether Mary and Joseph’s nearest neighbors were the Magi or fellow construction workers, their calling was the same: to receive the grace given to them in their time of need, and to spend the rest of their days giving that grace out to their family, to their neighbor, to their community. That is the direction of the Christian life. We receive all that God would give us in this sanctuary so that we can go out from this place into all of the other places where God would send us, so that his grace might be apparent to others in their time of need.
The kingdom of heaven is like a large church in a small town that finds they are losing themselves in the story of Jesus today. They find themselves looking back to remember God’s grace for all their years. They are looking around knowing that God is using them to show his grace in times of need.
The kingdom of heaven is like a couple for whom every chapter of life serves to deepen their understanding of God’s love and grace. Every grandchild that they hold serves to remind them that God loves that little one more deeply than they can know. Every neighbor that they see reminds them how God helped them in their time of need and reminds them that it’s all about Jesus.
Amen and amen.
The Future is Behind Us: Future Comfort
Isaiah 7:10–17 // Matthew 1:18–25
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our sermon text for today is both the Old Testament reading and the Gospel reading for today, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Our text thus far.
Dear friends in Christ,
The Future is Behind Us. Three weeks ago, we dwelled on the past promises of God. Two weeks ago, we considered the enduring hope given to us. Last week, we remembered that God does not change. And today, we think about the Future Comfort that the Gospel gives.
Life is not always comfortable. I remember being a little kid on Christmas Eve and having to wear the pants that my mom told me to wear. They were too hot. They were itchy. They didn’t fit. I told her, I’m not comfortable. These pants aren’t comfortable. She said, in the sweetest, kindest way that my mom talks, she said, “Tough. Life’s not always fair.” Life is not always comfortable.
But it’s not just that. For many of us, life can be downright hard.
Nobody plans for the roof to leak or for the battery to go dead or for the lower control arm to go out. Nobody gets up and says, “Boy, I’d really like to twist my ankle on the ice today.” Today’s a really good day for everything to go wrong.” Nobody sets out thinking, I’m hoping to crash my car.” Life is not always
Life wasn’t comfortable for Ahaz. He’d inherited the throne from his father Uzziah, and he’d inherited a whole lot of problems too. Israel to the north and Syria to the northwest were ganging up on him, and verse two says that when he heard that they were coming for him, the heart of Ahaz and all the people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind. Life wasn’t comfortable, and more than that, it was downright hard. His back was to the wall.
He only had one option: he could ally himself with the power north of Syria – the Assyrians. They were the huge empire, the regional power. They were cruel and harsh and excellent warriors, and Ahaz thought, if he could ally himself with the Assyria, then Assyria would keep Israel and Syria occupied. He felt as though he only had one earthly option. What else could he do?
Life wasn’t comfortable for Joseph either. He finds out that the wife he obviously cares for is pregnant, and not by him. She must be far enough along that it’s beginning to show, and you know that there are no secrets in small towns like Nazareth. Things are going to be uncomfortable, but. Life wasn’t comfortable, and more than that, it was downright hard. His back was to the wall.
He only had one option: he could divorce her quietly. Whatever Mary says, she obviously didn’t want to be with him. He was a righteous man, and so he had only one earthly option. What else could he do?
Have you ever been there? With only on option left, and even that option isn’t a good one?
Then God does something. Do you see? It’s the same something in both instances. In fact, it’s the thread that draws these two texts together. God does something. He takes their one earthly option and he does what only God can do.
He says to Ahaz, “Ask of me a sign. Be it as high as the heavens or as deep as Sheol. Ask anything, and I will do it to prove this prophecy.” And Ahaz does not believe.
He comes to Joseph with an angel and tells him, “Don’t do the thing that you were thinking to do. Take Mary to be your wife because the son is conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary.” And Joseph believes.
And then, as a promise of this extraordinary thing that he has done, he says to Ahaz and to Joseph, “Here is the sign. When you see this, you will know that all I say is true: behold the virgin shall be with child and you shall call his name Immanu El. Immanu WITH US. El. GOD. In this child, God is present with us.”
So, you might be thinking, “That’s great for them, Pastor Muther, but do you know how many angels have come to me with visions? Do you know how many times God has told me to ask for a sign as high as heaven or as deep as Sheol? A big goose egg. Nada. Zippo. Zilch.”
That’s, for the most part, true. God doesn’t part the clouds to tell me whether I should toast a bagel or eat cereal in the morning. But notice what the sign for both of these things was: Notice that it is the same thing for both prophecies.
You see, because this sign was the guarantee that God was going to do what he said he would do. This will be a sign for you: Immanuel. God with us.
And THAT is something that we DO have.
Dear friends in Christ, every time that you confess your sins and ask forgiveness, that often does God dwell WITH YOU to break the chains of your sins. Every time that you would say, “I am not enough. I need to be fed with God’s strength because I’m too weak on my own. “I need to thirst for God’s Word, because nothing else satisfies,” that often God starts filling your hunger. Every time you begin to say that gathering in the fellowship of the church is your priority, that often and more is God WITH YOU, by your side, leading you forward, assuring you of a future comfort.
What is that comfort? It is the future comfort that the Christian has always known. It’s the comfort that God is with you, that in your baptism you are united WITH Christ in his death so that you might be united WITH Christ in his life.
Whatever the political situation might be these days, whatever side you’re on, know that the comfort that reigns over all that chaos is this: death is not the end, that death which was a wall has become a doorway, and because Jesus lives, so shall we live. Whatever your social life might be, know that your life is hidden with Christ on high, and all of your treasure, all of your worth is in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy. Whatever your family life might be these days, know that Jesus Christ is your brother and God is your father, and they give you a crown and a home that thieves cannot break in and steal.
The future comfort we receive is that God is with us, Through all the trials, God is with us. When we don’t know what to do, God still feeds us. When we cannot find the strength God is with us. Through all the unknown God is with us.
There’s a story about a doctor who made house calls, and one of his patients, a terminal patient, asked him what was going to happen when he died and what heaven would be like, and the doctor said, “I don’t know.” “I don’t know? Aren’t you a man of faith? How can you say, I don’t know?” He replied, “Do you hear my dog?” Yeah “He’s on the other side of the door. He doesn’t know what’s here. He doesn’t know what’s here, but he doesn’t really care. All he wants to do is be with me.” To be with you. In the middle of the unknown. Whatever may be, he will be with us, and that is our future comfort.
And again and again, we find that God’s future for us looks far different than we thought it could look. As we walk one step at a time, we find that the future that is laid out by the cross of Jesus unfolds in God’s time, in God’s way. Time and time again, we see what Ahaz saw from Isaiah: somehow by God’s grace, he does something that we never expected, in a way that we couldn’t even guess. Again and again, we see life from Joseph’s perspective: we have a small part to play in the gloriously big plan of salvation, and whenever we need comfort, we look to Jesus Christ, the center of our faith.
Amen and Amen.
The Future is Behind Us: Enduring Hope
Romans 15:4–13 // Matthew 3:1–12 // Isaiah 11:1–10
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our sermon text is from Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 15, verse 4, “Whatever was written in the former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Our text thus far.
Dear friends in Christ,
The future is behind us. That’s the title of our sermon series, where we’re thinking about and looking at the promises of the past that shape our future, and the image he put out there was that of a rowboat. We move into the future even as we look at God’s promises in the past. We’re remembering what matters and trusting that God will lead us into the future. Last week, we considered past promises, the ancient prophecies that guide us to long for Christmas because Christ in the manger for us will be Christ on the cross for us.
Today, we consider the end of Paul’s letter to the Romans, we consider John the Baptizer, and we consider Isaiah’s prophecy as we turn to our sermon theme, Enduring Hope. So, what is hope, how do you have hope, and how do you keep hope when you’re at the end of your rope?
At the end of my rope. It’s an American saying from the 1680’s, from mining and railroading where conditions were dangerous and people often were in need of being rescued. A rescue worker would send down their safety rope, they would lean over, as far down as they dared, and the person they were rescuing would tell them if the rope would reach them, how far down the rope they were, or if they had no hope, at the end of their rope.
Because not too far from here is a wife that feels as though she has no more tears to cry. She doesn’t know if she can feel, doesn’t know if she can endure. She feels at the end of her rope.
And not too far from her is an old man who is wondering what reason the Lord possibly has for keeping him around. He knows he’s at the end of his life, and he would rather just be at rest. What’s the reason he is still around; he feels at the end of his rope.
And not too far from him is a young couple whose kids are particularly a handful that day. They have every reason to be hopeful, but they aren’t. They have every reason to be happy, but they’re just tired. They have every reason to have joy this Christmas, but they just feel at the end of their rope.
Three points to our sermon for today: first, that hope is born in dissonance, second that dissonance tells us that we are not quite at the end, and third, that dissonance resolves in harmony.
Hope is born in dissonance. I was up in the choir loft not too many days ago, and I had the opportunity to hear our choir sing. They were practicing for Christmas, as you might expect, and Irene had broken them out into parts. She began with the bass, then added the tenors, then the altos, and I walked in just as she was adding the sopranos and the melody. It sounded beautiful as they sang, heading toward the end of the song, until... she stopped them... on the second last note.
She said, “That doesn’t sound good, and it’s not supposed to.” She turned to the altos; “You have to hold that sour note true right here so that you can have a resolution in the end.”
First, hope is born in dissonance. Isaiah in chapter 11 is prophesying the judgment of the nations that would cut down the tree of Jesse right down to the roots, and that’s exactly what happened. Matthew in chapter 3 is recording John the Baptizer creating dissonance, calling out sin, making people uncomfortable over their sin, because we should be uncomfortable in our sinful ways.
Hope is born first when we realize that things are not right, that things are not as they should be. Yes, that’s something we know in our head, but there are days and times when it finally gets down to our heart. What dissonance do you know? Sometimes that dissonance comes because of our own actions, sometimes, because of the actions of others, and other times still we suffer for no particular reason at all.
Paul said it like that in Romans 5; he says, suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character, hope, and the God of hope tells us that hope does not disappoint, or to say it like he says in Romans 1, hope in the power of the Gospel does not put us to shame.
Hope is born in the dissonance of suffering, in the sour note before the resolution, in the hard times and the hurt that inevitably fall on us in this world.
Second, dissonance tells us that we are not quite at the end. It tells us that there is more to the story than we know at present. Now, notice the language that I’m using: the language of melody, the language of story. When we have a melody, we have a composer. When we have a story, we have a storyteller. And for the Christian, he is one and the same, the Father who loves his children.
Paul in his letter to the Roman Christians was writing to them in the middle of their conflict. Paul writes at the end of his letter, “Live in harmony with one another.” Which begs one to think that there must have been a reason to tell them to live in harmony (I don’t tell my kids to get along if they’re already playing nice), and that’s a truth that runs throughout the whole letter. That’s why his thesis statement way back in Romans 1:16–17 says “I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for all who believe, first for the Jews and then for the Gentiles.”
There was dissonance between the Jews and the Gentiles of the Roman congregations; he’s writing into the difference of those who were born into their faith and those who did not know the traditions. They could tell that life wasn’t what it should be.
And, we know this well, it is easy when you are in dissonance to start believing that it’s the end. It’s easy to believe that things will never get better again. It is easy to get lost in that truth that life isn’t what it should be. It would be easy for the hearers of Isaiah 11 to say, “I’m at the end of my rope, and I don’t believe there will ever be a shoot springing forth from the burned stump of Jesse,” when, in fact it took 600 years to get there.
But when we believe in a great composer who calls himself the Father who loves his children, when we believe what we confess in the creed, that there is communion of saints, a resurrection of the body, and a life everlasting, then dissonance tells us that we are not quite at the end. The God who whispered hope by saving his faithful people from Assyrians is the God who shouted hope through John the Baptizer. The God who sent John the Baptizer as a forerunner is the same One who sent Jesus as a little baby born on Christmas Day. The God who resolved the sins of the whole world on the cross is the God who raised Jesus from the dead in harmony with the Scriptures, is the same One who sent him as the first fruits of the dead who will rise on the last day. The dissonance of this world simply serves to remind us that we are not yet at the end.
Third, the song that has dissonance will resolve in harmony.
Notice what Paul doesn’t say through this section. He doesn’t make them all sing the melody. He doesn’t spell out every last rule that they have to follow. He doesn’t tell them to march in lock-step together. Instead, notice what he does.
In the middle of their dissonance, he tells them to remember the harmony that God promises. He says, remember that Jews and Gentiles are going to worship the one true God in joy and peace, and that’s what Deuteronomy says, that’s what Isaiah says, that’s what the Psalmist says, that’s how God will resolve all things at the end of all time. He says, look toward the end, and know that all will be well, all will be resolved, so in the meantime, keep on going.
The kingdom of heaven is like a married couple at the end of their rope in the middle of a time of disharmony, of dissonance. They come to their pastor’s office disheartened and weary. They lay out their burdens, and they wonder if it will ever get better. To which, their pastor asks them to picture this: picture sitting next to your husband, to your wife, holding your first grandchild, picture sitting side-by-side and being able to say, it wasn’t easy every day, but we made it. Is it worth it to endure for now if you get to say that?
The kingdom of heaven is like a large church in a small town that sees the disharmony, the dissonance, the suffering of the world outside of them and even inside of them. They cry with the wounded and they can’t figure out how to heal all the hurts, but they remember again and again that God himself will bring harmony, that God himself brings the resolution, that the God of hope will bring joy and peace.
Amen and Amen.
Remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you
Day of Thanksgiving 2019
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our sermon theme is pulled from the Old Testament reading, Deuteronomy 8:2, “You shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you.” Our text thus far.
Dear friends in Christ,
I had totally forgotten about that! I haven’t thought about that in years!
It’s been about 8 or 9 years since I was at the house of my dear wife’s uncle Bill for Christmas. Just the other day, Laura mentioned Uncle Bill and Aunt Cass, and then we started reminiscing about the last time we saw them, and then we started talking about the last time I was there at their house, how they have a den that comes off of their kitchen, how they had stockings hanging on a string over the mantel of their fireplace.
And that got me thinking of a remarkable silly little story. Laura’s family was around for a gift exchange, we were sitting all in the den, and Uncle John was up in the kitchen. He decides to open a bottle of champagne, he undoes the wire, he unwraps the foil, and the cork pops up to the ceiling. Now, there are about 20 people there, so he goes to get another bottle. He undoes the wire, he unwraps the foil, he points the bottle and pop, the cork goes flying twenty feet or so, it hits the mantel like a backboard and falls right into a stocking. You could have done it a hundred more times and it wouldn’t have happened again.
And I say to Laura, I had totally forgotten about that! I haven’t thought about that in years!
I tell you that to tell you this: remembering brings the past back to the present. For me that day, it meant a pleasant and silly memory of people that I loved. Remembering brings the past back to the present, and that’s doubly true for the holidays. Today, we will find ourselves reminiscing. We’ll find ourselves thinking about the past.
For some, the past is full of happy memories, of traditions that you will be a part of today, that you’re going to make the stuffing the way your mom used to make the stuffing, do the cranberries the way you remember Grandma made cranberries. For others, the past is full of regrets, of sadness, of people who have disappointed you, of broken relationships, of hopes dashed. For still others, the past is full of the ghosts of those who have passed away, the ache of loneliness that comes from loss. The first Thanksgiving since that loved one was laid to rest.
Whatever the past that comes to present today, whatever the context of your memory as you come to Thanksgiving today, whatever you reminisce about, I would invite you to bring it to the foot of the cross. I invite you to pour it out before the heart of our God. I invite you into our text today, where God bids his people to remember, and to remember means to bring the past back to present. Three thoughts for our sermon today: first, remember the whole way of where you have gone. Second, remembering the past often allows us to see God’s hand in a way we cannot in the present. Third, God calls us to remember where he promises to work and what he promises to do.
In the book of Deuteronomy, the people of Israel are knocking on the door of the promised land. They had been in the little itty bitty desert on the far side of the Red Sea for forty years, and now they were about to enter into the Promised Land. They had been led by Moses for those 40 years, and now he was giving his final speech, his deutero nomos, his second giving of the Law.
He tells them, remember. Remember the whole way of where you have gone. He says, remember the whole way that the Lord has led you. The whole way. Even a brief survey through Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy would tell you that things have not always been easy for the people of Israel.
They were at the Jordan River, knocking on the door of the Promised Land forty years ago, mere weeks after they had received the 10 Commandments from Mt. Sinai. They had the chance to move into the Promised Land, but they saw the people there and their hearts were afraid.
They had grumbled about no food. They had grumbled about manna. They had grumbled about too much manna. They had grumbled about quail. They had grumbled about water. They had rebelled. They had made a lot of mistakes.
They were to remember the whole way. Remember their mistakes, the ones that God had used to discipline them like a dad disciplines his children. Two days ago, I had the chance to discipline my boy Benny. I sent him to his room for doing this and that. I came in, he apologized, I forgave him, and we hugged. And I told him what I often tell him, that I want him to grow up big and strong and kind and wise, so I discipline him. They were to remember their successes, the way that this generation had grown up in their faith to love the Lord their God with all their heart and soul and mind.
And more than all of that, notice what they were to remember the most: Notice it in the verbs of our text. Remember that God had been the one who led them. That God had been the one who provided for them. Remember that God was with them, God was leading them, God was feeding the, God was caring for them.
Dear friends, this is the second great point of our sermon today, remembering the past often allows us to see God’s hand in a way we cannot in the present. The truth of the Christian is that God is present everywhere. His Spirit is active. He is working whether or not we can see him, whether or not we understand what he is doing.
He is working in our joy, reminding us where true joy resides. He is working in our mistakes, teaching and disciplining us. He is working even in our tears, in the loss we feel over our loved ones. He is working, patiently and slowly.
And so we get to the third great point of our sermon. God calls us to remember where he promises to work and what he promises to do. The promised land that God promised to his people of Israel was a good thing for only a time; the promised land of the new creation is a promise for eternity. The manna in the desert satisfied them for a day but the bread of God’s Word will satisfy them for eternity. The water from the rock satisfied their earthly thirst, but the Living Water who is Jesus Christ will ensure they will never go thirsty again.
And then a curious thing happens. We begin to remember differently. Instead of just the feeling of overwhelming loss, death becomes a doorway instead of a wall, and the promise becomes that our loved one stand by the side of Jesus Christ, and though there are tears, they are tears in the hope of something more.
Instead of joy being a happiness for the moment, it becomes something more. It becomes a little picture of something that is beyond it, a little taste of a really great feast, the first glimpse of a joy that has no ending in a place that has no darkness.
And then, perhaps most remarkably, something happens to our mistakes. Or rather, something happens to us. You see, for the Christian, as we remember our faults and failures in the light of the Gospel, in the light of forgiveness, we have the freedom to know those mistakes, to name them, to acknowledge them, and to know that as often as we confess our sins, we receive forgiveness which washes over them like a flood. As often as we drop to our knees, that often does Christ answer us with the words that only he can say. As often as we kneel to receive it, we remember that Christ has paid for them all.
There is no reason to hide, no reason to defend. There is only and ever the love of Christ that lifting up our sorry souls, separating us from our sin as far as the east is from the west, cleaning us so that our sins which were like scarlet become as white as snow.
Amen and amen.
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