Bulletin Announcements – April 26, 2015

 

 Bulletin Announcements

April 26, 2015

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  John 10:14:  “I am the good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me.”  What does it mean to know the Lord?  It starts with being known by the Lord: He claims us as His own and calls us by name.  Then, once we are His, we learn to know Him…and in knowing Him we learn to imitate Him.  And that is how the Christian life of good works and generosity grows from the Lord’s grace

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS, led by Pastor Lueck, is studying “Luther’s Small Catechism”.  The class meets in the basement at 9:15 a.m.

TODAY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL students learn the story of “Paul’s First Missionary Journey.”  Just as God sent Paul and Barnabas to spread the Gospel, so today He sends pastors to preach the Gospel, baptize, and feed Jesus’ body and blood to His children, against whom the gates of hell cannot prevail.  Consider discussing, “Who gave Paul directions on where to travel?  What was Paul’s message?”

PORTALS OF PRAYER:  The April – June 2015 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack located in the narthex.  Pick up your free copy today.

FELLOWSHIP HOSTS:  The sign-up for help with coffee/doughnuts is posted on the wall by the north stairwell.  We need an individual/family to sign-up each week to pick up the donuts and make the coffee.  If no one is signed up by Friday of each week, the order will be cancelled.  We thank everybody who continues to help with this part of our church fellowship.

GOOD SHEPHERD’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY:  Have you noticed the banner in the narthex for Good Shepherd’s 20th Anniversary: (Great Is Thy Faithfulness)?  A great big Thank you goes out to Joyce Schneider and Paula Hardy for making the banner.  We also want to report we have collected a little over $3,800.00 since we had our first collection in March.  Our next dates for collection for the Organ Repair are: Sunday, May 24th and Sunday, May 31st.  Thank you to all for your participation.  The 20th Church Anniversary Committee

THE LUTHERANS FOR LIFE OF ILLINOIS 2015 STATE CONFERENCE will be held at Zion Lutheran Church in Lincoln, IL this coming Saturday, May 2nd from 9:00 a.m. to noon.  The Conference theme is “Because Life Matters” taken from Job 33:4.  Our keynote speaker will be Reverend Dr. Jim Lamb, Executive Director of Lutherans For Life.  Other speakers include Sara Hintz and Lori Trinche.  No pre-registration or fee required.  Doors open at 8:30 a.m. for coffee and rolls.  Please bring donations of diapers, diaper wipes, and newborn baby items which will be given to the Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center of Lincoln, IL.  A continental breakfast, mid-morning snack, and lunch will be prepared and served by the Zion Lutheran Ladies Aid (a free-will Offering would be appreciated).  The Conference Offering will be going to “Owen’s Mission” (a Special Project providing a set of “Touch of Life” fetal models to Lutheran schools).  Please e-mail: lakamps@gmail.com with questions.  Everyone is welcome to come and be educated on life issues and enjoy fellowship with other life-affirming folks.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “You Can Live a Meaningful Life” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from John 15:1-8.  A life that is meaningful is one that is connected to Jesus.  The speaker will be Reverend Gregory Seltz.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720) at 6:00 a.m.; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Tune in!  You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org.

PRAYER CHAIN:  If you have a prayer request please submit them by email to Mary Anne Kirchner at makirchner@yahoo.com or you may phone a Prayer Request to Mary Anne; her home # is (309) 661-6522; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582.  The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

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Bulletin Announcements – April 19, 2015

 Bulletin Announcements

April 19, 2015

 THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  1 John 3:2:  “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”  There is the essence of our sanctification: becoming like our Lord.  As St. John notes, this will only be completed in the Resurrection

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS, led by Pastor Lueck, is studying “Luther’s Small Catechism”.  The class meets in the basement at 9:15 a.m.

TODAY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL the children will study “The Conversion of Paul” and learn that as God did with Paul, so God does with us.  Through the Law we are crushed by the weight of our sin and are helpless.  As God revived Paul through Ananias (Acts 9:1–31), He revives us through our pastors with the proclamation of His Word and the administration of His Sacraments granting forgiveness, life, and salvation to all who believe.  Talk to your children about how the Sacraments and God’s Word revive you so that you may live as God’s child.

TODAY is the deadline for items to be submitted for the MAY NEWSLETTER.  Mandy Kluender is our Editor for the church newsletter and any announcements you want to be published in the Newsletter should be submitted to her at mgkluender@hotmail.com or you may call her at (309) 838-9868.

CHURCH DIRECTORY:  The April 2015 edition of the Church Member Directory is available on the table in the narthex.  Please pick up your copy today.

“WALK FOR LIFE”:  Pastor and family will be walking again in the Pregnancy Resource Center’s “Walk For Life” this coming Saturday, April 25th at Christ Church in Normal.  If you would like to sponsor them with a pledge or walk yourself please speak with Pastor.  Thank you.

PORTALS OF PRAYER:  The April – June 2015 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack located in the narthex.  Pick up your free copy today.

FELLOWSHIP HOSTS:  The sign-up for help with coffee/doughnuts is posted on the wall by the north stairwell.  We need an individual/family to sign-up each week to pick up the donuts and make the coffee.  If no one is signed up by Friday of each week, the order will be cancelled.  We thank everybody who continues to help with this part of our church fellowship.

GOOD SHEPHERD’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY:  Have you noticed the banner in the narthex for Good Shepherd’s 20th Anniversary: (Great Is Thy Faithfulness)?  A great big Thank you goes out to Joyce Schneider and Paula Hardy for making the banner.  We also want to report we have collected a little over $3,800.00 since we had our first collection in March.  Our next dates for collection for the Organ Repair are:  Sunday, May 24th and Sunday, May 31st.  Thank you to all for your participation.  The 20th Church Anniversary Committee

THE LUTHERANS FOR LIFE OF ILLINOIS 2015 STATE CONFERENCE will be held at Zion Lutheran Church in Lincoln, IL on Saturday, May 2nd from 9:00 a.m. to noon.  The Conference theme is “Because Life Matters” taken from Job 33:4.  Our keynote speaker will be Reverend Dr. Jim Lamb, Executive Director of Lutherans For Life.  Other speakers include Sara Hintz and Lori Trinche.  No pre-registration or fee required.  Doors open at 8:30 a.m. for coffee and rolls.  Please bring donations of diapers, diaper wipes, and newborn baby items which will be given to the Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center of Lincoln, IL.  A continental breakfast, mid-morning snack, and lunch will be prepared and served by the Zion Lutheran Ladies Aid (a free-will Offering would be appreciated).  The Conference Offering will be going to “Owen’s Mission” (a Special Project providing a set of “Touch of Life” fetal models to Lutheran schools).  Please e-mail: lakamps@gmail.com with questions.  Everyone is welcome to come and be educated on life issues and enjoy fellowship with other life-affirming folks.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “Open-minded and Accepting” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Acts 4:12.  Tolerance and open-mindedness are values much touted, but truth is even better.  The speaker will be Reverend Gregory Seltz.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720) at 6:00 a.m.; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Tune in!  You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org.

PRAYER CHAIN:  If you have a prayer request please submit them by email to Mary Anne Kirchner at makirchner@yahoo.com or you may phone a Prayer Request to Mary Anne; her home # is (309) 661-6522; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582.  The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

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Bulletin Announcements – April 12, 2015

 Bulletin Announcements

April 12, 2015

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  John 20:19:  “Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.””  The peace we have in Jesus is what makes a life of good works possible.  Since we know that it is Jesus who saved us, and not our works, we are now free to do good works not out of self-interest, but for the right reasons: out of thanksgiving toward God and love for our neighbors.

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS, led by Pastor Lueck, is studying “Luther’s Small Catechism”.  The class meets in the basement at 9:15 a.m.

TODAY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL we study “Jesus Reinstates Peter.”  We are all like Peter in our words and actions, denying our Lord and weeping bitterly over what we have done.  We are in need of the same comfort that Peter received—the comfort of sins forgiven and the assurance that even though we are faithless, Jesus will remain faithful.  You might discuss, “How did Peter express his sorrow and repentance?  What specific directions did Jesus give to Peter?”

TODAY is our 2nd Sunday door Offering for both Reverend Michael Kearney and Seminarian Chris Suggitt.

NEXT SUNDAY is the deadline for items to be submitted for the MAY NEWSLETTER.  Mandy Kluender is our Editor for the church newsletter and any announcements you want to be published in the Newsletter should be submitted to her at mgkluender@hotmail.com or you may call her at (309) 838-9868.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED:  The sign-up for the International House Dinner at Illinois State is now available on the table in the narthex.  The date is Friday, April 17th at 6:00 p.m.  We need volunteers to make and bring food and if you can, come to the meal.  Please sign-up for that as well.  This is a congregational outreach.  We pray you can be a part of this as we get to know young people from all over the world.

CHURCH DIRECTORY:  The April 2015 edition of the Church Member Directory is available on the table in the narthex.  Please pick up your copy today.

“WALK FOR LIFE”:  Pastor and family will be walking again in the Pregnancy Resource Center’s “Walk For Life” on Saturday, April 25th at Christ Church in Normal.  If you would like to sponsor them with a pledge or walk yourself please speak with Pastor.  Thank you.

FELLOWSHIP HOSTS:  The sign-up for help with coffee/doughnuts is posted on the wall by the north stairwell.  We need an individual/family to sign-up each week to pick up the donuts and make the coffee.  If no one is signed up by Friday of each week, the order will be cancelled.  We thank everybody who continues to help with this part of our church fellowship.

PORTALS OF PRAYER:  The April – June 2015 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack located in the narthex.  Pick up your free copy today.

YOU ARE INVITED:  Members of Good Shepherd are invited to a farewell reception for Reverend Chris Nitzel and family TODAY at Trinity Lutheran School from 2-4:00 p.m.  Reverend Nitzel is an Assistant Pastor at Trinity who has taken a call to Iowa.

TICKETS AVAILABLE:  Good Shepherd has been blessed with free tickets to the collegiate baseball game between the Illinois State Redbirds and the University of Illinois Fighting Illini.  The game is this coming Tuesday, April 14th at 4:30 p.m. at Duffy Bass Field.  The free tickets are available for your pick-up in the church office next to the mailboxes.  Enjoy!

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “It’s Not Over ‘til Jesus Says It’s Over” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Luke 24:36-49.  Our risen Savior enables us to hold on when troubled times tempt us to bail out.  The speaker will be Reverend Gregory Seltz.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720) at 6:00 a.m.; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Tune in!  You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org.

PRAYER CHAIN:  If you have a prayer request please submit them by email to Mary Anne Kirchner at makirchner@yahoo.com or you may phone a Prayer Request to Mary Anne; her home # is (309) 661-6522; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582.  The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

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Bulletin Announcements – April 5, 2015

 Bulletin Announcements

April 5, 2015

He Is Risen . . .

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  John 20:1:  “Now on the first day of the week. . .”  All is made new by the Resurrection of Jesus!  Even the day of worship has transitioned from the Old Testament’s Saturday Sabbath to the Lord’s Day of the New Testament.  For the Lord has made all things new: He has begun a new week for a new creation in rising from the dead as the New Adam.  We are also made new in Him – a new heart, a new life, new desires, a new outlook toward God: all this comes from our Risen Lord’s grace.

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS, led by Pastor Lueck, will be studying during Lent: “Singing With The Exiles”, based on the Book of Isaiah.  This Bible Study corresponds with today’s Easter message.  The class is at 9:15 a.m. in the church basement.

TODAY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL:  “Jesus Dies and Lives Again” serves as the lesson focus for Sunday School this Easter Sunday.  Good Friday is both the worst of days, revealing the gravity of our sin and God’s wrath, and the best of days, forever portraying God’s love for us in the crucifixion and resurrection of His Son.  Parents could ask, “What makes Good Friday so good? Why is Easter so important for a Christian?”

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED:  The sign-up for the International House Dinner at Illinois State is now available on the table in the narthex.  The date is Friday, April 17th at 6:00 p.m.  We need volunteers to make and bring food and if you can, come to the meal.  Please sign-up for that as well.  This is a congregational outreach.  We pray you can be a part of this as we get to know young people from all over the world.

CHURCH DIRECTORY:  The April 2015 edition of the Church Member Directory is available on the table in the narthex.  Please pick up your copy today.

COMPLIMENTARY AMERICAN PASSION PLAY TICKETS for the this coming Saturday, April 11th performance at 2:00 p.m. are available.  Please contact Carol Schroeder at gordoncarol304@gmail.com or Fern and Theron Noth at tfnoth@gmail.com.

“WALK FOR LIFE”:  Pastor and family will be walking again in the Pregnancy Resource Center’s “Walk For Life” on Saturday, April 25th at Christ Church in Normal.  If you would like to sponsor them with a pledge or walk yourself please speak with Pastor.  Thank you.

FELLOWSHIP HOSTS:  The sign-up for help with coffee/doughnuts is posted on the wall by the north stairwell.  We need an individual/family to sign-up each week to pick up the donuts and make the coffee.  If no one is signed up by Friday of each week, the order will be cancelled.  We thank everybody who continues to help with this part of our church fellowship.

PORTALS OF PRAYER:  The April – June 2015 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack located in the narthex.  Pick up your free copy today.

THE PREGNANCY RESOURCE CENTER is having a Confidential Week-end Retreat for post abortive men and women on April 10th–12th.  For more information please see www.hopeforafuture.com/deeperstill.

TICKETS AVAILABLE:  Good Shepherd has been blessed with free tickets to the collegiate baseball game between the Illinois State Redbirds and the University of Illinois Fighting Illini.  The game is Tuesday, April 14th at 4:30 p.m. at Duffy Bass Field.  The free tickets are available for your pick-up in the church office next to the mailboxes.  Enjoy!

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “God Always Shows Up” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from John 20:19-38.  Jesus shows up in your life today with His gifts of forgiveness and new life.  The speaker will be Reverend Gregory Seltz.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720) at 6:00 a.m.; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Tune in!  You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org.

PRAYER CHAIN:  If you have a prayer request please submit them by email to Mary Anne Kirchner at makirchner@yahoo.com or you may phone a Prayer Request to Mary Anne; her home # is (309) 661-6522; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582.  The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

He Is Risen Indeed!

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Pastor’s Notes – April 2015

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?” (Luke 24:38)

We can have doubts when we rely more on our senses than we rely on God.  That’s the lesson of a story from the 1800’s.  A skeptic stood on a street corner spouting his contempt for Christ.  He said, “People tell me that God exists, but I can’t see Him.  People tell me there is a judgment to come, but I can’t see it.  People tell me that Jesus has died and risen for me, but I can’t see Him.”  He stepped down to a smattering of applause.  Then another man stepped to speak:  “People tell me there is green grass all around, but I can’t see it.  People tell me there is blue sky above, but I can’t see it.  People tell me there are trees nearby, but I can’t see them because I am blind.”  Actually, both men were blind.  One was blind physically.  The other was blind spiritually.

On Good Friday, there were many who stood before the cross blinded by their doubts.  The Pharisees and priests were blinded by their hatred for this new Messiah and their fear that this crucifixion might not silence His message of salvation by grace.  Jesus’ disciples might also have been blinded, believing that His death would be the end of the hope He had given.  Today we sometimes stand before the cross and cannot see the Lamb of God who has died so that we might live.  We are blinded by our doubts and troubles.  “Can God really help me?” we ask.  “Does He really have the answers that I need?”  How wonderful it would be if our eyes were always open to see that Jesus died for me!  For my sins.  For my troubles.  For my doubts.  For my fears.

Holy Spirit, open our eyes and hearts to proclaim with the centurion, “Surely He was the Son of God!”

In Christ,

Pastor

Celebrating April 2015

Birthdays

4/2 Nancy Fuller
4/3 Finley Mosier
4/4 Dorothy Herberts
4/4 Isaac Scott
4/6 Craig Culp
4/8 Casey Scott
4/9 Carol Schroeder
4/12 Carly Benjamin
4/12 Drew Kemp
4/13 Gerald Semelka
4/20 Harriet Campbell
4/21 Angelina Isaac
4/22 Marvin Huth
4/25 Ethan Bliese
4/27 Daryle Schempp

Baptismal Birthdays

4/1 Fern Noth
4/3 Herbert Renken
4/3 Lizzie Vize
4/6 Justin McNeely
4/9 Mary Anne Kirchner
4/11 Toni Lueck
4/13 Michael Anderson
4/16 Nancy Thomas
4/22 Taylor Dirks
4/25 Audrie King
4/29 Laura Kessler
4/30 Bob Bier

Stewardship Corner April 2015

“And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? . . . I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you? Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” (Matthew 20:11–15).

Entry into the Kingdom of heaven is by grace not by works. And this is the point of the parable. Those hired first received the same wage as those hired last. Those hired first, even though they bore the heat of the day, received the same wage as those hired last. Entry into the kingdom comes by grace, by the gracious call and invitation of the owner of the vineyard.

And we chafe against this. We, like those hired first, object to the master’s decision. We begrudge him because of his generosity. We think that those who labored longer should receive a greater wage. And we protest that it’s not fair. But that is precisely the point. It’s not fair. It’s by grace. It’s given from God’s undeserved love and kindness, not by merit. So we should rejoice. For to ask for fairness, to ask to be treated by what we deserve and have earned, is simply to ask for hell.

For God owes us nothing. For by grace you are saved, by his underserved love and mercy. And even though it was undeserved, that doesn’t mean it was cheap. It wasn’t cheap, but costly. It cost God the Father His own Son. It cost the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, His very life. God’s grace is costly grace. It costs us nothing but the cost for God was great. For it was achieved by the shedding of the holy and precious blood and the innocent suffering and death of Jesus. And it is by that shed blood that God by grace calls us to be His own. It is by that death that God by grace gives us entrance into His kingdom.

He doesn’t owe us. We’re not entitled to anything from God. He is not indebted to us. We are indebted to Him. For we have not lived as He mattered most. We have not loved Him with our whole heart, body, mind, and soul, with all that we are and all that we have. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve his temporal and eternal punishments. But unlike us, He doesn’t hold this debt over our heads. He has instead place our debt upon the head of His Son, and His Son has taken it willingly so that we would be forgiven and free.

For reasons all His own God has determined to love us. He has taken the punishment we deserve upon himself. He has given gifts to those whom He knows would take it for granted. This is grace. He is kind, forgiving, steadfast. He is slow to anger and abounding in love. For the kingdom of heaven is entered by grace, by His giving not our earning.

He is allowed to do what He chooses with what belongs to Him. But it doesn’t work the same way with us. For what belongs to us? Nothing. We belong to Him, by water and His Name. He purchased and won us from sin, death, and the devil by His holy, precious blood and His innocent suffering and death, so that we would be His own special possession. Thus, we have nothing of our own, it all belongs to Him. We are stewards of what He has given to us. And so we give of ourselves, all that we are and all that we have, to those whom God has placed us to care for in our vocations of members of a family, society, and the church.

And if He has done all this for us, how can we not do with everything that He gave us likewise?

Elder, Usher, and Acolyte Schedules for April 2015

Elder and Usher Schedule

Date
8:00
Elder
10:30
April 2 Maundy Thursday 7PMNathan KluenderCharles Nottingham, Craig Culp, Marvin Huth, Paul Gerike
April 3Good Friday NoonNo ElderNo Ushers
April 3Good Friday 7PMJohn HardyJeff Piper, Matthew Holland, Theron Noth
April 5
Easter Sunday
7:00 AM
Daryle Schempp, Gerald Semelka, Mike Field
Barry HamlinBud Kessler, Curt Kessler, Holden Lueck
April 12Gene Fuller, Richard RossCraig CulpBrian Dirks, Karson Lueck, Mike Huth
April 19Joshua Parry, Nathan Kluender, Paul Gerike, Steve ParryCurt KesslerBryan Reichert, Ryan Kleiboeker
April 26Charles Nottingham, Craig CulpPaul GerikeMarvin Huth, Travis Henson

Acolyte Schedule

Date
8:00 AM
10:30 AM
April 2Maundy Thursday 7PMJessica Isaac
April 3Good Friday NoonPastor
April 3Good Friday 7PMHolden Lueck
April 5
Easter Sunday
7 AM
Anna Holland
William McNeely
April 12Pastor/ElderChristian Dowell
April 19J.T. PiperPastor/Elder
April 26Pastor/ElderJustin McNeely

 

“HOW COULD YOU STOOP SO LOW?” — Palm Sunday, 3-29-15, 1030am Service (Philippians 2:5-11)

March 29, 2015 – Palm Sunday

Text: Philippians 2:5-11

Dear Friends in Christ,

A first grade teacher was explaining to her class what Holy Week was and why we call it holy. She explained Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and finally Easter. When she thought she had made her point, she asked the students if they had any questions. One curious little boy raised his hand and asked, “What happens if you don’t want to be holy all week?”
Insightful. Who does want to be holy all week? Who wants to be holy on this Palm Sunday? This side of heaven most of us are aware that being holy at all is an impossibility. The only way to get there is through what Jesus is going to do for us this week. He is going to lower himself so that we might be saved. The Sunday of the Passion is upon us as we ask . . .
“HOW COULD YOU STOOP SO LOW?”
What an excellent question for us to contemplate during this last week of Lent. How could you stoop so low? How could you, disciples of Jesus and the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, stoop so low to climax Jesus’s humiliation?
The betrayal of Judas helped carry out the humiliation of Jesus. He feigned concern for the poor while being a thief. He facilitated it all because of his lust for money and perhaps as a way to remove the last voice of truth and conscience in his life. Jesus would stoop so low.
The contention and denial of Peter added to Jesus’ humiliation. He was so proud that he would stand when others were falling. Instead of a rock, he became a pile of sand by denying Jesus three times. Jesus would stoop so low.
The religious leaders would find false witnesses; condemn Jesus as a liar and blasphemer all because Jesus spoke the truth as the Son of God. This added to his humiliation. Jesus would stoop so low.
How low do we go to cause Jesus’ humiliation? We can see what is no good in others. We just did it with Judas, Peter, and Caiaphas. Didn’t that make you feel good – at least a little? But Lent – especially this day in Lent – is devoted to looking at ourselves. Our self-exaltation required His humiliation. When we create conflict in our relationships because of pride, don’t we humiliate Jesus by ignoring His words, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Mt. 7:3) Jesus would stoop so low.
Our selfishness required his death. How many families are broken because one or many family members take care and affection while giving nothing back – and feel justified in doing so? We contend that we deserve the good things for which Jesus suffered. Jesus would stoop so low.
Our materialism required his death as one accursed. When we trade God as Creator for the firstfruits of His creation we lower God to the place of a servant who is rudely expected to provide constantly for our every comfort. Jesus would stoop so low.
How could you, Jesus stoop so low to allow your humiliation? His nature made such a response to our condition inescapable. He is the Lamb of God slain for the whole world. He not only created all things, but He sustains them by His power. He would stoop so low so that He could raise us up. His love knows no limits. He would go lower and lower and lower because of His love for us. That love sets us free from concern for ourselves.
Instead of exalting this Lord Jesus, we have many proponents of other world religions lowering the Christ by saying they are all the same.
The late Dr. Malcolm Muggeridge, curmudgeon of the British journalistic establishment, once gave a speech in Washington D.C., in which he made a number of comments about the current state of the world’s affairs – all of them negative. Afterward, one person asked him if he had any reason for optimism. Muggeridge responded, “My friend, I could not be more optimistic than I am, because my hope is in Jesus Christ alone.” He paused for a moment to let that sink in, then finished: “Just think if the apostolic church had pinned its hopes on the Roman Empire!” The kingdom of Jesus, a liar and fool to those who deny or lower Him, is the eternal kingdom of God whose truth we must live out in our lives.
Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus as Lord. It is good to be reminded of that. Jesus stooped so low as he rode the colt into Jerusalem. He used humble means so that His redemption is accessible to us. Word and Sacrament. Bibles, water, bread and wine. In these instances are head is usually lowered. While reading, when we were baptized, and at the communion rail. We can do that because He stooped so low for us. As the head arises, we look heavenward to the glory that awaits. Stand up straight; your Savior and your redemption are on the way.
Amen.