Sunday, May 22, 2011

Your Helper

JOHN 16:5-15

5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he would take what is mine and declare it to you.

In the name of Jesus:
This little card provides some peace of mind to my family and me when we are traveling. This little AAA card guarantees that whenever my car is disabled, I will receive roadside assistance. If I need a tow truck, one will be made available, within certain parameters and limitations, of course, but if I need help from a tow truck, help will be on the way. If I need a jump for a car battery, or have a flat tire, this little card provides access whereby I can get the help that my family and I need when on the road. This isn’t a commercial for AAA; it is, though, one common example available to many of us that we have within our reach a helper when we need assistance.
Spiritually we are in need of God’s help. Lost and condemned because of sin, God sent help to sinners in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. By Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection salvation has been secured forever for sinners. When Jesus spoke to His disciples in the context of the lesson for today, Jesus was preparing to depart from earth to return to heaven. His mission had been accomplished. There was nothing else left for Jesus to do. So Jesus speaks to His disciples and tells them of His impending departure. Their hearts sink when they hear this news. Their beloved Savior is about to leave them, and their hearts are filled with grief. Their lives are obsessed with grief; it would be accurate to say that they were overcome with grief. The Gospel writer John tells us: “5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.”
How is it to the disciples and our advantage that Jesus departs and goes to heaven? Jesus answers that question by telling us that if He does not go away to the Father, the Helper, the Holy Spirit will not come to help us. Why does Jesus need to go away? Because His mission is complete, He returns from whence He came. Much like a solider who in victory returns home to a hero’s welcome, so too Jesus ascends to heaven, to receive heaven’s accolades on His victory over sin, Satan, and death for sinners. But Jesus, in love for sinners, promises to send help in the Person of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, who is called the Comforter or the Helper. Jesus says that it is to our advantage, to the sinner’s advantage, that He goes to heaven so that He will send the Holy Spirit.
What an understatement by our Lord! The Holy Spirit will come to help us in our salvation. Why do we need help? Because we can’t help ourselves! We are by nature sinful; we are spiritually dead and enemies of God! We have not spark, no energy, to love for God. We are spiritually dead, lifeless before God. So the Spirit comes to give us life! He comes to give us faith! He comes to bring us Jesus in a way, which comfort and help us today.
Jesus says: “. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” The Helper comes to help the sinful world AND to help those who belong to God. He has a two-fold task. The Helper comes first of all to convict the world of sinners, which include each and everyone of us of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Helper convicts us of sin, because no one believes in Jesus of his or her own volition. By our very nature we reject God, His word, and the work of Jesus Christ. Each of us is by nature unbelievers. The sin of sins is unbelief, for in unbelief you reject Jesus. And so the work of the Helper, the Holy Spirit, is to convict us of our sin, to show us our utter sinfulness and hopelessness in the light of God’s Law. We are hopeless without God. We truly need a Savior. The Spirit works through the Law to show us that great need.
The Spirit convicts us of righteousness. He helps us in our righteousness, in that first of all, He shows us how unrighteous we are in God’s sight. Our righteousness is like filthy garments; hence the Spirit helps us by showing us and revealing to us another righteousness outside of ourselves, the righteousness of Christ, which we all need. God made sinners right with Him on account of Jesus. Even as all have sinned, all also have been made right with God on account of Jesus! The blood of Christ cleanses from all sin and by faith Jesus becomes our Righteousness. God exchanges your sinfulness and gives you Jesus’ right standing before the Father. The Spirit not only shows you this, but also actually GIVES you this. This is why He is our Helper.
The Spirit finally convicts us of judgment, by revealing that the ruler of this world, Christ has judged Satan. Even though the world lies in the tight clutches of Satan, Christ has crushed Satan’s head, and this judgment is for now and forever. It has happened and it has lasting results. The work of the Spirit bears witness to what Jesus has done and now shows us and now GIVES to all who believe in Jesus.
This is the absolute truth that Christ came to save sinners. The Spirit is our Helper to reveal to us our sinfulness and also to give us the faith we need to believe in Jesus, thereby making what Jesus has accomplished our very own possession. This is not a new truth. It is, though, divine truth. It is God’s truth. It is a truth that people do not want to hear. This is why Jesus calls the Holy Spirit, the Helper, the “Spirit of Truth” for He tells the truth about Jesus, about the world, and about Satan.
Note what the Scriptures say about Satan. He is called a liar, the father of lies, and that by his very nature no truth resides in him. And so, the Spirit, our Helper, shows Satan for what he is, and exposes his lies to us. And yet, the message of the Spirit is not to expound on the lies of Satan, but to reveal to sinners their only Hope for salvation, Jesus Christ. The Spirit’s sole message is all about Jesus. The Spirit does not point to Himself, He does not seek glory in and of Himself, and the Spirit does not speak what separately apart from the Father and the Son. No, instead the Spirit works with the Father and the Son and the Spirit point’s sinners to Jesus, who died and rose for our salvation. The Spirit only speaks what the Father and the Son tells Him to say. The Father points to His Son and says: This is my beloved Son; listen to Him, for there is salvation in no one else. The Spirit also points us to the Son and tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, and that Jesus alone is the Way, Truth, and Life, that no one can come to the Father except through faith in Jesus. The Spirit is our Guide, our Helper, leading us into the truth of Jesus as our Savior and our Lord.
But how does this happen? How does the Spirit help us in this way? He does so by giving us the very faith we need. He does so by working through definite means. He uses things in our existence whereby we may know for certain that God is at work to give us His gifts.
God’s good and gracious Gifts are given to us in His Holy Word and Sacraments. Here we know and receive God’s truth, and THIS TRUTH AND THESE GIFTS ARE NOT TO BE DESPISED!!! We despise these gifts when we take them for granted, when we deem not going to church as important, when we minimize and trivialize God’s gifts to us. Here we need to hear once again God’s command: Remember the Sabbath Day! Luther explains that this means that we should fear and love God that we do NOT despise preaching and His Word, but rather we are called to GLADLY HEAR AND LEARN IT.
God desires that we gladly receive His gifts and gladly hear and learn His truth, the Word of God. God tells us all we need to know and we have all that we need from God in the Bible. God hides nothing from us regarding our eternal salvation, it is all revealed in the Scriptures. The Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation for the Spirit speaks to us in and through the Word to tell us God’s truth concerning His Son, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit tells us in the Scriptures what we need to know concerning the kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom of God so that we might be forewarned and forearmed in our daily battles with the Devil.
So how can we be armed for this battle with Satan? All we need is Jesus. Jesus has defeated Satan for you and all who believe. In Baptism, God places you in Christ for the Bible says that if anyone is baptized in Christ he or she becomes a new creation, the old things have passed away and all things have now become new. Christ’s victory becomes your victory for He gives you that victory in Baptism.
Christ also speaks to you in His Word, to not only announce to you the forgiveness of your sins but also to GIVE to you that forgiveness that you need. The Spirit speaks in His Word, so we can say that Christ speaks because the Spirit speaks only words, which have been given to Him to speak through the Father and the Son, and these words give Jesus to us. The Holy Spirit is our Helper because He receives from Jesus so that He can lead us to the Father.
One of the great times we have as a family is remembering. Sitting around the dinner table after a meal, someone will recall a certain event in our lives that caused laughter. Soon there is much joy around the table, as one of the family will share their family recollection. And whenever we forget the details of the story, someone is there to help us remember, to fill in the blanks, not only so that the story is told correctly, but also to spread the joy. The Holy Spirit has been sent from God the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ, to help us remember Jesus. There are trials and difficulties in our lives, which get in the way of our remembering what Jesus has done. And so Jesus has sent to us the Holy Spirit, who points us to Jesus, that even in our trials we might have joy. The Spirit is Jesus’ gift to you, to point us to Jesus, who is our ever-present Help in our times of need. Amen

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A reminder of the ancestral homeland

Thanks to Rachel, the blog has a little bit of a new look. The picture in the background looks a great deal like the landscape of Scotland. And so, in a tip of the cap to my ancestors, I have changed the background to give the look of the Scottish coast. The cliff reminds me of the cliffs outside of Arbroath.

Dogs, Children, and God

EZEKIEL 34:11-16

11 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.

In the name of Jesus:
How does one in our society explain this text? We know little of shepherds and sheep, who of us have owned a sheep or have been a shepherd? Okay, the Pohlods are exempt, but besides the Pohlods, who else know what God is talking about, who has experienced this relationship? Well, if you are a dog owner, you might be able to relate.
Many of you who have stopped by our home have seen our two dogs. Oreo, who we had put to sleep last year, was notorious for getting lost. Even though we have the invisible fence, Oreo twice, not once, but twice, wandered off through the electric fence and was no where to be found. We were frantic, looking all over the house and all over the neighborhood trying to find her. We called friends, neighbors, and we had a search party looking all over the neighborhood, up and down streets, in back yards searching for the blind, hard of hearing cocker spaniel named Oreo. The one time we found her hiding underneath the big pine tree in our next-door neighbor’s front yard. A huge winter storm was approaching so time was of the essence. Being hard of hearing she couldn’t hear the warning signal, so we reckoned that she was shocked and decided to settle down under the tree.
The second time Oreo wandered off we found her in the neighbor’s back yard. She had crossed the street and, not being able to see, was waiting, sitting under the neighbor’s back window, waiting to be let in, not knowing she was at the window and not a door and also not knowing she was not in her own yard. Both times we are frantic, and uttered a big sigh of relief and said a prayer of thanks to God.
Our other dog, Katie, also was recently lost. I was at church attending a meeting when I got a frantic call from Luann pleading me to come home, that they could not find Katie. Mark had searched the house to no avail; Luann was patrolling the neighborhood by car calling out Katie’s name. Luann found her, by the swing set over at Sanderson School across the street. How she got away, we still don’t know because she has an electronic collar. We surmised that Katie must have seen a cat or squirrel and in her thrill of the chase, Katie sprinted across the fence line chasing whatever it was to Sanderson. Yes, I know that some of you are thinking, Pastor, you need to up the amps on that electric fence. That isn’t the point. We had lost our beloved dog and we rejoiced when she was found.
There is something to be said about the love between an owner and its pet. But there is nothing stronger than a mother’s love for her child. If you have ever had a missing child, you know the heartache, you know the pain, you know that your world STOPS and time is frozen. Your only purpose in life is to find that lost child and bring that loved one home. At King’s Island one year Mark wandered off at the water park. We couldn’t find him through the crowd of people. Fanning out through the crowd, well, yes, we did find him, but we did all we could to search every space of that area to find our son. If you have ever experienced what I have shared today, you know the emotional toll, the physical pain and sickness you feel until that which was lost is found.
In our text for today Ezekiel writes of how Israel wandered from their relationship with God. God had called them to be His people. He made them a nation, brought them out of Egypt, led them to the Promised Land, gave them everything they needed including kings and prophets to lead and guide them in the way that God had desired. But through it all, Israel was unfaithful. Israel wandered off. God’s people ran away from God and sought other gods. God was their Shepherd but they acted like sheep that were led astray.
God is our Shepherd, but we have strayed from Him. The Scripture tells us that all of us are like sheep that have gone astray, we are lost, and we seek our own way. Each one of us has made messes of situations in our life because we have sought our own way. We have not let God be Master or have total control of our lives. We do not trust God, as we ought, we seek to make our own decisions, we do what we think it right, even if that goes against God and His will. We have acted like gods in our own lives, loving our self more than God, fearing what others think instead of what God wills, and trusting in our own reason and strength instead of God. We have tried to live lives separated from God, which really shows that we ARE separated from God. We would be like lost sheep, if not for the love that God has for us.
But God has loved us and still loves us. God is merciful. He is full of love and mercy for each and every one of us. Though we have run from Him, He seeks us out and searches for us. He searches for all who have run from Him and continue to run from Him. No matter if sinners continue to deny Him, God will not deny them. If the sinner runs from God God runs and seeks the sinner. For whoever is lost, God loves enough to seek out and find those who are lost, that they might know of His love and care for them. And we see God’s mercy, and love, and grace in the person and work of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
God has come to a sinful world to seek out the lost in Jesus. Jesus has come into our very existence and into our world to seek and find us. In the Gospel lesson for today, Jesus describes His love for sinners in terms of a Shepherd. Jesus is not like one who is hired out to do a job, which cares for the sheep as if he is paid for it, and then whenever some difficulty comes the one who is hired will pick up and leave. No, rather Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd of the sheep. He seeks out those who have fled from Him, who are scattered and not of the sheepfold. He gave His life in love for all. By Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection He has purchased and won each and every sinner from sin, Satan, and death, so that sinners no longer belong to themselves but they belong to Him! He has laid down His life for all who have wandered and gone astray. On the cross Jesus has endured all that sinners might be saved.
Salvation is for sinners. God’s salvation is for you! Like a shepherd who seeks out the sheep who are lost, who are broken or are sick, so Christ seeks out you! He offers to you His help and salvation for He is our ever-present Help in time of trouble. To those who are broken by the events of life Jesus offers His help and promises to work things out to your good. To those who are burdened by guilt and sin Jesus offers forgiveness and salvation. To those who are frightened by death and despair Jesus offers eternal life and Hope for He is the Resurrection and the Life. Jesus lives for you today and promises to give you sinners an overwhelming victory over sin, death, and the devil by a free gift of His love. He offers this to you and faith claims and lays hold of what Jesus gives.
This faith has been given in your Baptism. You are His new creation by water and the Word. He has restored your soul in Baptism; He leads you in the paths of everlasting life through His Word, the Gospel. He this very day prepares for you and offers to you Himself in the Table of the Lord, His Supper, for the forgiveness of your sins and for the strengthening of your faith, so that you might live in His presence today and so that you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
God is good and gracious. Peter writes: “For you were straying like sheep but now have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (I Peter 2:25). The Good Shepherd has sought us out when we are lost that we might live in His presence. And the Good Shepherd so sends us out, into our families, neighborhoods, nation and world, to seek those who are lost, that they might find God’s love for them in Christ.
There was much joy in our home when we found our lost dogs. Even so, there is a greater joy in heaven over one sinner who repents and believes in Christ. Even as owners seek out their lost pets, and parents seek out their lost children, so too God wishes to seek and save the lost, to bring back those who have strayed. He has called you by name in Christ. You belong to Him and now His mission has become your calling and mission, that many more will come faith and belong to Jesus, for He is the Good Shepherd.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


JOHN 20:19-31
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
In the name of Jesus:
Fear robs you of the things most precious in your life. Sit down some time and try to add up the costs that fear produces. When you think of fear and its cost in the world and in our lives, you can begin by adding up the costs of penitentiaries, prisons and jails. Then to that total, add the costs of lawyers, courtrooms and security forces. But the cost doesn’t stop there. Begin to take into account the cost of the locks on your doors, your windows, the security system that you have in your home, and then consider also the cost of insurance, and those who care for those who have been victims of a crime. The cost is staggering, when you think about it. Fear grips us and it is costly. Not only in terms of money, but also when you consider how fear affects each of us. How do we calm our fears?
Do you know how a lot of people handle their fears? They run from them or ignore them. When I was little, I had a fear of the dark. I still vividly remember at the old house on Hillside Ave. in East Cleveland my mom telling me to go to bed and me scurrying up the stairs. Why did I flee up the stairway? It was less of obedience to my parents, and more due to my fear of the dark! I ran up the stairs because I didn’t want whatever there was that was lurking in the dark to get me. As I grew older, my fears of the dark dissipated as I learned to ignore my fears and not let them get the best of me.
But a lot of good that does for any of us who have fears today. We can either ignore our fears of the dark, or make certain we have security systems up to date, or a gun in the drawer by our bedside. But ignoring our fears, even trying to handle our fears by ourselves won’t make them go away.
If you have a fear of being alone, no security system is going to fill that hole in your heart or in your life. There is still that uneasiness that lives in your life. That what fear does, it continues to lurk in our lives so that fear robs us of our peace. FDR said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. It is a great line, but when you are afraid, when you have fear, you have neither peace of mind nor peace in your soul.
Fear grips us and robs us of tranquility. Estrangement among members of families takes its toll on spouses, parents and children, and siblings. Whatever it is that separates people and causes rancor and strife certainly doesn’t bring peace.
We have a need for peace in our families, and yes, even among ourselves. Individually we need to be a peace. Sickness not only causes us distress on a physical level, illness robs us of peace. We question, why am I sick? How long will it last? How much will this health care cost? And if we are sick enough, we wonder if this sickness will lead to death?
Look around and you see that there is no peace in the world. The World is at war again, the only thing missing is the title World War Three! There is war in Afghanistan, war in Libya, war in Syria, in Yemen, there is the war on terror, and we even see Americans at war with one another! There is no peace, only fear. Ignore it, but it won’t go away. You can run but you can’t hide from it.
The greatest problem we face, though, is that we have no peace within ourselves. Our consciences are in need of peace. But our lives are laden with guilt, filled with appointments to be kept, we are exhausted from running to get here and there, and still we have no peace. When we look at our text for today, we see that Thomas and the other disciples lacked peace. They lived in fear. What did they do? They did what they could, but the fear was still there.
Note our text:” On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors are locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews.” The disciples were afraid of the Jews. They feared those who put Jesus to death. They were afraid of what might happen to them. How did they handle this fear? They locked the doors! They figured if they would lock themselves in the room, no one could get in to get them. Of course, no one could get out of the room, and the fear was still prevalent.
The only remedy for their fear was Jesus! The Risen Christ entered through their locked doors in order to reveal Himself as the Risen One, who lived, died, and now lives forever. He defeated the fearful three of sin, Satan, and death and gives victory over fear to all who believe. He lives to silence all of your fears; He lives to wipe away your tears. Your Redeemer Jesus lives to grant to you peace in the midst of the turmoil in your life, He lives to grant to you His perfect peace.
Thomas needed this peace, He needed the joy that only Jesus can give. Thomas is called the doubting one, Doubting Thomas for a reason. While others witnessed the Risen Christ with their own eyes, Thomas did not. You remember what he said, unless I place my hands in those open wounds, I will not believe. But Thomas in saying that did not have peace. He may have sounded confident, but like each of us, he had questions that he needed answered. His life was in turmoil for a week. Did the others see Jesus? If so, why wouldn’t Jesus show Himself to him? If Jesus was alive, what would that mean. These and other thoughts went through his mind, because Thomas is like us and we are just like Thomas. His heart and mind were racked with questions. Just like you and me when we have questions or are puzzled over a series of events, Thomas had no peace.
And so Jesus, knowing this, appears again to the disciples, only this time with Thomas present. The same doors were locked, not because of fear, but so that the same physical conditions existed to show Thomas and all who doubt that Jesus has indeed risen from the grave. This time Christ appears and approaches Thomas gently, as a Friend, not condemning, but offerings His hands and side as proof of Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus’ words to Thomas encourage him and each of us who are racked with fears today: Doubt no more, only believe!
Jesus says to Thomas and to us: Blessed are they who believe and have not yet seen. Blessed are those who hear God’s Word and believe. Those who take God at His Word and trust God and His Word, believing what the Scriptures says about Jesus, are blessed by God. Those who hear God’s Good News and trust in Gods’ Good News have as their possession what God gives, namely Jesus and salvation.
The Risen Christ casts out fear in our hearts for the Good News is that He is risen. Not has, which is the past tense and would imply that this is something that happened in the past with no effect for us today. And the news is not that He will rise, for that would mean that the Scripture did NOT come true in Jesus and that He has no meaning for us today. No, instead the greeting is He IS Risen, which means that Christ has rose from the grave, He continues to live for He has risen from the grave, and He always will live because of the resurrection. Jesus lives today and His life in a continuing reality for us today. This is why the Bible says what it says, that by believing in Jesus, that is, by CONTINUALLY BELEIVING IN JESUS we will have life in His name. He has given us faith in Baptism and by His Word. He feeds our faith in Word and Sacrament. Today God gives peace in Jesus. Believe it. It is yours. Claim it, trust in Him, for He gives that peace to you today without measure.
This Sunday is called Quasimodo Geniti Sunday. The good old Lutheran question is what does this mean? This Sunday’s name has the meaning which comes from I Peter: Be like newborn babies. In the shadow of Easter God’s call to you as His child is to trust in Christ, so much so that you will live and act like a new born baby. Just as babies yearn for milk, so yearn and hunger for the Word, for the Word brings Christ and the Word brings peace.
So, dear fellow believer, yearn for Jesus and the peace that He alone gives in the forgiveness of your sins. That peace is given to you in your Baptism, where your sins have been washed away and Christ has claimed you as His own. Yearn to come to church to hear God’s forgiveness pronounced to you in the words of the Absolution, for when the Pastor states: As a called servant I forgive you all of your sins in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God gives forgiveness and grants peace to your troubled soul. And yearn to attend church so that you may gather around the Altar of the Lord to receive His true Body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins. For where there is forgiveness of sins, God gives to you peace that surpasses all understanding.
Jesus greeted His disciples in the locked room with the words: "Peace be unto you." In Hebrew, Jesus would have used only one word: Shalom. The Hebrew word shalom, for "peace," is a most comprehensive word, covering the full realm of relationships in daily life and expressing an ideal state of life. The word suggests the fullness of well being and harmony untouched by ill fortune. This is the absolute best that God can give to a sinner, that is, through the forgiveness of sins the sinner trusts in Christ so that you have wholeness and completeness with God. This is what God has given to you in Christ. Through the forgiveness of your sins God has given to you shalom, perfect forgiveness, reconciliation with God, perfect peace. It is no light hearted greeting, but one that comes with God’s divine blessing. This is what God gives in Christ, and as His disciples today, this is what we are called to share with others. God’s peace, His perfect peace in Christ, for Christ, you have the peace that surpasses all understanding.