Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sermon for 21 April 2011, Maundy Thursday C

The Rev. Paul J Cain
Luke 2:14; John 1:29
Gloria in Excelsis
Maundy (Holy) Thursday, 21 April 2011
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, WY

Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. [Amen.]
 Psalm 96:1-2 ESV.

To God on high be glory
And peace to all the earth;
Goodwill from God in heaven
Proclaimed at Jesus' birth!
We praise and bless You, Father;
Your holy name we sing—
Our thanks for Your great glory,
Lord God, our heav'nly King.

It is somewhat strange to hear the voice of the Christmas angels on the night when He is betrayed. Somewhat, but not completely strange.
The angels announce Jesus’ birth to the shepherds. Why was Jesus born? The angels answer: to demonstrate grace and the peace God would bring us in Christ Jesus.
How is that grace and peace given us? That’s another way of asking the same first question: Why was Jesus born? To die. And not only to die, but to live again and bring you through death to new life and eternal life.  Grace and peace were won on the cross, but not delivered there. Come to Communion for the delivery of God’s grace and peace.
Faith responds in praise to God and by blessing His name, as the angels proclaimed their glory to God in the heavenly realms.
Both the song of the angels and Jesus’ Words of Institution of the Sacrament are located in time. The shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks by night, a specific night. Jesus gave us the Sacrament of the Altar on a specific night, the night He was betrayed.
To You, O sole-begotten,
The Father's Son, we pray;
O Lamb of God, our Savior,
You take our sins away.
Have mercy on us, Jesus;
Receive our heartfelt cry,
Where You in pow'r are seated
At God's right hand on high—

The early church expanded Luke 2:14 with the help of John 1:29 into a three-stanza Trinitarian hymn of praise. We have praised and blessed the Father. We ask Jesus for mercy, for He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. We will adore and worship the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son as Lord Most High.
Stanza two focuses on Christ, the only-begotten Son of John 3:16. His birth is great and glorious, but it is only part of the picture. Christmas TV specials speak of family, love and forgiveness, but usually leave Jesus out. One does not see the same number of Easter specials. If ever there was hope for the future and the opportunity for a fresh start, it is in the Resurrection of Christ. For some reason, free grace isn’t a popular message because no one can make money off of it.
The Words of Institution are spoken by the Passover Lamb Himself. There is unleavened bread and wine. The table is set for the Exodus 12 Passover. This time, one of the Firstborn of Israel will die. And we shouldn’t be surprised that it is Jesus. He is the Lamb of God as a sacrifice dead on a cross. Like a lamb to the slaughter He was led away by Judas goat. And this unblemished lamb paints your door with His blood so that the destroyer will pass over you.
He gives into your mouth His Body and His Blood for your forgiveness in the greater Exodus, leading you out of bondage from Pharaoh Satan to life eternal in the heavenly promised land. He nourishes you in this wilderness of the shadow of death with Himself, His Word, His Gifts, and His people so that you are not alone. He is holy and gives you His holy gifts as His holy people.

For You alone are holy,
You only are the Lord.
Forever and forever,
Be worshiped and adored;
You with the Holy Spirit
Alone are Lord Most High,
In God the Father's glory.
"Amen!" our glad reply.

The response of faith is “Amen, yes, yes, it shall be so.” Amen adds faith’s “yes” to what has been said, sung, proclaimed, or prayed. Amen trusts that God has our best future in mind. Amen ties together Christmas, Good, Friday, Easter, and Pentecost as God’s will, fulfillment of His ancient promises, accomplishment of His salvation in Christ, and delivery of forgiveness, life and salvation in Word and Sacrament, celebrated with angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven. Amen.
To God on high be glory
And peace to all the earth;

Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.       The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. [Amen.]
Psalm 98:1-2 ESV

Morning Prayer from Lutheran Service Book
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Created by Lutheran Service Builder © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.