10282018 Reformation 23 Aft Pent 22 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“God's yoke is easy!!”

10282018 Reformation 23 Aft Pent 22 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

October 28, 2018

“God's yoke is easy!!”

Audio was unable to be accessed this week.

Today we gather to celebrate the rite of Confirmation in the life two young men and the church.  Honestly unlike high school graduation, our celebration today with Jordan and Josh, Jeff, Holly and their family and sponsors at Holy Baptism, mentors in confirmation and their dedicated teachers and we the Body of Christ is a rite that is a stepping stone of their faith journey.  It is similar to and intimately connected to Martin Luther when he stood and uttered the words, “Here I stand” that began the Protestant Reformation that ultimately began the Lutheran Church!

When Martin Luther who we remember on this Reformation Day nailed the 95 Theses on the door at Wittenberg it was because of his firm belief in the Word of God and God’s grace.  The Protestant Reformation was a watershed event that radically changed the landscape of churches, the faith of the people and clearly pointed to a truth we lay claim to today. Martin Luther relied upon God and believed in his heart that the yoke handed to him by His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ he took upon himself, had a simple truth.  For Luther, the church from that moment and for we who gather here today, we firmly and faithfully believe, teach and confess that “God’s yoke is easy!”

The yoke that God offers us is light and easy.  “God’s yoke is easy” and is not meant to burden us.  God is attempting to allow we who gather here to understand that what He freely offers us is the free love and grace that comes because of what His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ was willing to do on the Cross of Calvary.  Doubters want us to doubt what the easy yoke from God means, because by doubting it divides us and clearly keeps us and our minds off of God. Yet, by our simple and faithful belief that “God’s yoke is easy” we are empowered to understand and connect our faith with all the blessings from God throughout the ages.  This includes, but is not limited to God’s faithful people from Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, David, Solomon, Paul and John through their taking “God’s yoke [that] is easy” given to them by Jesus Christ.  And this is the same easy yoke offered to and brought back for the people by Martin Luther and for each and everyone of us today.

So today in our sight, with our prayers and with our celebration, Jordan and Josh will now take responsibility for their own faith and life upon their own shoulders believing that “God’s yoke is easy”!  Will Jordan and Josh have trials and temptations to woo them away from the faith?  Yes. Will their shouldering their responsibility for themselves and their faith development mean we as a congregation, sponsors and their parents who stood and promised we would lift them up would no longer be equally yoked with them?  By no means. Today is about their individually taking another step in their faith development and joining with us and personally affirming their personal relationship with their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and receiving the mantle of “God’s yoke [that] is easy” for themselves.

This is why we confess with them the Apostle’s Creed the same Creed used when they were baptized in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Today Jordan and Josh stand with us already as members of the priesthood of believers, but now with the mantle of responsibility upon their own shoulders.  Not just as ‘children of God’, but now with the responsibility for their faith with the understanding that “God’s yoke is easy.”

The best way for me to frame this for all of us today, is that Josh and Jordan no longer ‘ride in the wagon’ as ‘children of their heavenly Father’.  Today, Jordan and Josh get off of the wagon that we the members of the Body of Christ here at Emmanuel are yoked to here on earth and take upon themselves the mantle of responsibility with we their brothers and sisters as full members in the priesthood of all believers.  And all of us are empowered by the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ from the Cross of Calvary to join together and with and by the power of the Holy Spirit become yoked with all of us gathered here to lead in the direction God is guiding we the Body of Christ to go here at Emmanuel.  For today as Jordan and Josh take this mantle and responsibility on their shoulders, we can continue to help them and remind each and every one of us of this simple truth. The mantle we wear, “God’s yoke is easy”.  AMEN.