03132019 Wed of Lent 1 Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“Christ, the Life of All the Living”

03132019 Wed of Lent 1 Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

March 13, 2019
“Christ, the Life of All the Living”
Sermon Audio

One of the most profound scripture passages was just read as the Gospel this evening.  In the Gospel of John we hear how ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’.  The Word is none other than, Jesus Christ and our hymn for tonight opens up a window into the life, death and battle with a wily foe we even encounter though we are separated by 2000 years. Let’s learn more about our hymn in our Lenten series by singing the first stanza of “Christ, the Life of All the Living”!

1 Christ, the life of all the living, Christ, the death of death, our foe, Christ, yourself for me once giving to the darkest depths of woe: through your suff'ring, death, and merit life eternal I inherit.  Thousand, thousand thanks are due, dearest Jesus, unto you.

The theme of ‘life’, ‘death’ and ‘woe’ that Jesus Christ endures has clearly one goal in mind, that we shall ‘merit life eternal’, because of Jesus willingness to go to the Cross of Calvary for us.  It could be said Jesus willingness to die, for ‘all the living’ isn’t as some in our culture would say for naught, Jesus willingness to sacrifice Himself was in order that we can spend eternity with Him.  Ernest Hornburg, author of this hymn like many in his time wasn’t clergy, he was a poet extraordinaire and this hymn not only connected his faith, but highlights what Jesus Christ was willing to suffer for us and all of mankind and what our response can and should be today as we live ‘in’ this world, but are not ‘of’ this world.  Let’s join in singing the next stanza and see what Jesus prevents as we sing, “Christ, the Life of All the Living.”

2 You have suffered great affliction and have borne it patiently, even death by crucifixion, fully to atone for me; for you chose to be tormented that my doom should be prevented.  Thousand, thousand thanks are due, dearest Jesus, unto you.

When Catherine Winkworth, well known translator in the 1800’s revealed for an English audience the gem of this hymn, her translation communicated what Jesus was willing to prevent for us and all of mankind.  Jesus ‘chose to be tormented’, His willingness to endure ‘great affliction and have borne it patiently’ showed the depth to which Jesus Christ would go for all of mankind.  For it was with Jesus ‘death by crucifixion’ that insured we who believe in the atonement offered by Him, would not experience the death we deserve, because Jesus ‘suffered great affliction and have borne it patiently’ for us.  Jesus clearly showed His love and we in response can give, ‘thousand, thousand thanks’ for His willingness and clear demonstration of His love.  Let’s join in singing the last stanza of our hymn and enable us to ‘praise God’ as we sing, “Christ, the Life of All the Living”.

3 Then, for all that bought our pardon, for the sorrows deep and sore, for the anguish in the garden, I will thank you evermore; thank you for the groaning, sighing, for the bleeding and the dying, for that last triumphant cry, praise you evermore on high.

When we sang this last stanza, did you notice the connection of the ‘garden’ of Eden with the ‘sorrows deep and sore’ ‘that bought our pardon’ by what Jesus Christ did for us on Calvary.  What this demonstrates is that salvation history is clearly connected throughout the entirety of Holy Scripture and our hymns not only make these connections, but have the physical emotions Jesus felt, linked to what we feel today.  We can make these links, and need to realize that Jesus has paid the price for us and all of mankind by ‘bleeding and dying’ and we have only to believe in Him and trust in the forgiveness He freely offers us from His death on the Cross of Calvary.

We then end tonight’s hymn in our series telling Jesus, ‘thank you for the groaning, sighing, for the bleeding and the dying’ so we as His children and followers, who have been baptized into His life, death and resurrection can, ‘praise’ Jesus ‘evermore on high’.  And our ‘praise’ merits nothing, but changes our hearts from entitlement, to blessed receivers of the grace that God gives us through His Son, Jesus Christ, when we sing, “Christ, the Life of All the Living”!  AMEN.