11042018 All Saints 24 Aft Pent 23 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“We remember upon Whose shoulders we stand!”

11042018 All Saints 24 Aft Pent 23 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

November 4, 2018

“We remember upon Whose shoulders we stand!”

Sermon Audio

All of us probably remember pictures being taken when we were kids where we had to make a pyramid.  Unlike the cheerleaders who would make the formation of a pyramid look effortless, our abilities to do so when I grew up usually always failed in dramatic fashion where we came tumbling down into a pile.  If we were lucky enough to have snapped a picture we began the waiting game until the picture was developed in the hope that everybody had their eyes open.

In today’s culture we have instantaneous satisfaction and gratification, whether when we go and buy appliances or the latest new gadgets at Wal-Mart or Best Buy or order them from an online retailer like Amazon.  Yet, what is clear is that the church has not had this instantaneous gratification and forgiveness we so desperately need. Last week in our final Bible Study on the Core Values of the NALC, I reminded those in attendance that unlike our twitter or Facebook age that instantly let’s people know what we are thinking, there was nearly four years between Martin Luther pounding the 95 Theses on the door at Wittenberg and Luther being labelled an outlaw, because he would not recant his firm belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is upon Martin Luther’s shoulders and upon the shoulders of the early church, the Apostles and the prophets of the Old Testament and our forefathers that our faith is based and finds its value.  So clear is the basis of our faith that we can, should and need to be reminded that our faith and the forgiveness we at times need to ask for and that we so desperately need is connected even to Tree of Life Synagogue which experienced the tragedy that shows a clear point of evil within our culture and world.  What is the answer to this? I personally have no wisdom, nor can I answer why this occurred. What I do know is that Tree of Life and even we here at Emmanuel need to confess our sins and humbly ask for ‘forgiveness’.

We as the Body of Christ also can lead as “We remember upon Whose shoulders we stand”!  We stand upon the shoulders solely of only Jesus Christ.  It is upon His firm and faithful Shoulders that we the people of God can stand firm and find rest and solace and the forgiveness from our actions, inactions and even our attitudes and desires.  In the face of tragedy like what occurred only 16 miles away from we who gather here today, our only solace can come from Jesus Christ. For it is His gift of grace and mercy offered unto us today and the forgiveness of each other and from Him that clearly and faithfully can help each of us today and everyday not only deal with tragedies, but also help us here at Emmanuel.

Today, “We remember upon Whose shoulders we stand” simply because of a love God shared with us.  We are empowered to believe in God’s love for us and for all of mankind and called to share it with one another.  Our world we live in today clearly needs forgiveness of one another. I need it from you the people of God, the Saints here at Emmanuel, before it is to late.  I need you to hear, from me, from this pulpit and from my heart that I am sorry for what I have done by my actions and at times inactions whether in person, in writing and even the words I speak from this very spot.  

I need to ask my wife and daughter for their forgiveness for putting them on the altar in sacrifice in order to serve God and you the people and members of Emmanuel.  I need to daily crucify my ego, ask for forgiveness and ask God to renew a ‘clean heart’ in me in order that I can truly believe and in my heart understand, “We remember upon Whose shoulders we stand”.  But it’s not about me, its about God’s Son, Jesus Christ Who forgives us and upon Whose shoulders we the church stand.

This is what confession and forgiveness is all about.  It is the opportunity to seek to ask my wife Michele, my daughter Sarah and you the people of Emmanuel to receive my confession in the spirit it is intended.  Simply, my name is Darian and I’m a sinner in need of a Savior. I’m in need of a Savior that will allow me to stand upon His shoulders. I’m in need of a Savior that looks not at the clothes I wear, not at the title I have, not at the degrees I was awarded, not at what is the public perception by anyone in our world.  I’m in need of a Savior that looks through that and forgives me, the sinner that is desperately in need of a Savior. A sinner who needs my wife and my families as well as you the people of Emmanuel’s forgiveness. I need your love, your prayers, but also and especially your trust and your help on a daily basis. I need each and everyone of the members of Emmanuel to help me on a daily basis so “We can remember upon Whose shoulders we stand”.

When we look and understand that it is God’s forgiveness we need, the shoulders of Jesus Christ we stand upon, it gives new meaning when “We remember upon Whose shoulders we stand”.  For Jesus Christ’s shoulders are perfect and meant to remind us of the grace He so freely offers us.  As we stand on His shoulders and receive forgiveness and the sacrament of His Body and Blood that connects us to His life, death and resurrection, we not only are reminded but empowered to share the love of God with others.  And in so doing we demonstrate God’s love in clear ways for the community we live in, our world and especially for those who need a clear demonstration of God’s love in their lives.

Today in seeking true forgiveness we can connect clearly with not only each other, but with the early church that the Apostle John wrote to from the Revelation of St. John that we heard earlier, but also with each and every one of us today.  When “We remember upon Whose shoulders we stand” those of Jesus Christ, we firmly by Jesus Christ’s strength through each of us hold onto our faith and the faith that our loved ones died holding onto.  So clearly is this demonstrated in a song I sometimes sing when I stand upon Jesus Christ’s shoulders at the bedside of one who is at the edge of death.

The last stanza of “Rock of Ages, Cleft for me” demonstrates clearly our faith.  Listen to me while I sing the last stanza, “While I draw this fleeting breath, When mine eyelids close in death, When I soar to worlds unknown, See thee on thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in thee.”

This is the faith that is firmly held onto by our loved ones we remember today on All Saints Sunday.  As we watch them in their final moments for some it is a peace that shows their faith is built upon the Rock of the Shoulders of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ Who they wait to come and bring them home to heaven.  For it is Jesus Christ Who loves each and every one of us unconditionally that reminds and affirms His love for each of us and helps each and every one of us to understand our faith though weak and frail is strengthened because we believe that ‘we hide ourselves in Him’.  And today, on this All Saints Sunday we can faithfully and firmly believe a simple saying, “We remember upon Whose shoulders we stand”, Jesus Christ and His Shoulders that forgive us, hold us, help us and heal us so we can enter our eternal home with All the Saints who rest from their labors.  Thanks be to God for His forgiveness of us as “We remember upon Whose shoulders we stand.”  AMEN.