Sermon 1.1.12

January 1, 2012 at 7:16 pm Leave a comment

Most of the Lutheran world used texts for the Name of Jesus, but at SCCLP we used the First Sunday after Christmas, and the sermon was taken from Luke 2:22-40.

Maurice C. Frontz, STS

Salona Lutheran Church, Salona; St Paul Lutheran Church, Nittany Valley

1st Sunday after Christmas

January 1, 2012

 

As you know, I am serving as your ‘interim’ pastor.

An interim is defined online at Merriam-Webster.com as ‘an intervening time.’

It is a time between times –

For your congregation and the parish, a time between pastorates;

For me, also a time between pastorates.

What do we do when we are ‘in the meantime?’

What does the Church do?

 

Today we hear about Anna and Simeon,

Two people in a long interim period.

Anna had been married at an early age to a man

Who had lived seven years after their marriage –

And then she lived until the age of eighty-four,

Fasting and praying in the temple, waiting for the consolation of Israel.

Simeon had heard a promise from God,

that he would see the Messiah,

and he was waiting to have that promise fulfilled.

What was he doing ‘in the meantime?’

Believing that God would fulfill all his promises,

despite all the evidence,
despite all the bad things happening all around him.

 

In his time, the Roman Empire had occupied the land Holy to God,

and there was no agreement in faith even among the faithful.

Days of prayer turned to months, turned to years,

and God’s promise of the day of peace and salvation seemed no closer,

but even seemed to be getting farther away as the months and years passed.

Still Simeon waited, and Anna was in the temple courts night and day:

praising God and praying for the sight of his redeeming love.

longing to see the One who would defeat all of God’s enemies.

 

Who among us would have their stamina?

Who among us would have their patience?

We don’t like to wait for much these days.

My grandfather was a tobacco farmer in Manheim, Pennsylvania,

and that didn’t even suffice to make him patient in every respect.

I didn’t grow up on the farm.

I didn’t grow up waiting on God to send the spring and summer rains,

or for the harvest to be ready.

My generation doesn’t like to wait for much.

But none of us like to wait for much these days.

 

The joyful patience of Simeon and Anna

is what we need in this New Year.

Not just the churches who are wondering what a new pastor will be like,

Not just the churches and pastors who are wondering about their futures,

But the whole Church, and the whole world, needs to embrace

the joyful patience of waiting in the meantime.

We wait to see how God will work his purpose out.

In the meantime, we praise God and we pray for signs of his redemption.

And we have the one great sign that Simeon and Anna received.

 

For towards Simeon, into the temple courts,

 come Joseph and Mary and the baby that God gave them.

And this joyful patient man somehow knows that his days of patient waiting are over.

In front of him is not the king of Israel, clothed in might to subdue his enemies,

But a baby.

And yet this baby named Jesus is God’s salvation.

The light that would enlighten the whole world.

 

Now nothing changes when Simeon holds this baby.

The Romans are still outside the Temple courts,

The chatter about what’s faithful and what’s not continues.

And yet in Simeon’s arms is the salvation of the world.

For in him our sins are forgiven,

The devil is defeated,

And death becomes the gateway to eternal life.

In this Jesus, whose name means “God saves,”

God has acted for Simeon and Anna and for all of us who wait upon his salvation.

 

We are still ‘in the meantime.’

No matter when you call a pastor,

Or when I receive a call,

we will still be waiting for God to work his full purpose out.

For now, there will be frustrations and questions,

evil powers futilely resisting God in the world,

our sin and our living towards death.

But we have the great sign that Simeon beheld,

the baby who would grow up to be a king,

but a strange kind of a king,

who reveals our innermost thoughts by our responses to his Word.

He is a king who didn’t lord it over others but who served them,

A king who didn’t hate his enemies but who loved them,

A king who died on the cross for them and was raised in the power of the Spirit.

And he is victorious over sin, death, and the evil one.

 

 

One day we will behold him enthroned in glory.

In the meantime, we gather to praise him for his mercy and love,

and pray for the whole world and ourselves,

waiting for God to work his full purpose out.

And by God’s grace we will do that in this year 2012. Happy New Year!

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Farewell Sermon at Messiah 12.30.11 Advent of the Heart by Fr Alfred Delp

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Calendar

January 2012
M T W T F S S
« Dec   Feb »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Most Recent Posts


%d bloggers like this: