“While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I am grateful I live in Burkburnett. I like small town living much better than living in Grapevine, in the middle of a huge number of people. People seem to get along fine here. Of course some of that is just my point of view.
Recent events have reminded us that this world is still sinful. We are reminded again and again that racism exists in our society. We are reminded that people are more interested in dividing us that in uniting us as a nation. There is no peace because there is no reconciliation.
The model for reconciliation is the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. That model is not one of justice, but one of sacrifice. Justice involves making things right by paying a price. The price of reconciliation with our LORD GOD was paid on the cross.
I for one am grateful that I do not have to pay the price for reconciliation with my Heavenly Father. The price is too high! I would only be able to pay it with my very life. But while I was still weak, at just the right time, Christ died for the me. And for you.
We have been justified by his blood. Remember my favorite song?
“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”
Why did Jesus have to shed his blood for us? We know from the writings of the Law that blood is life.
And in the Law, when blood is spilled, then a like amount of blood must be shed for justice sake.
But rather than our blood, Jesus shed his blood for us. His blood makes us righteous before God.
You will recall the Revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ to St. John the Divine, chapter 7:
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
This is symbolic of the souls of the faithful made clean. The prayer of humble access says,
Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord,
so to eat the flesh of your dear Son Jesus Christ,
and to drink his blood,
that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body,
and our souls washed through his most precious blood,
If everyone truly knew the power of this reconciliation, there would be peace everywhere. If everyone realized that none of us are perfect without the perfection of Jesus, none could look down on anyone else as inferior.
If everyone knew that it is only through the blood of the Lamb that everyone can be reconciled to God there would be no fear. And if there was no fear, there would be no war.
Our Lord Jesus has a plan to make this known.
In the Gospel today, we heard that Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness.
He instructed them to proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.”
The kingdom of heaven is not some far away place over the rainbow. You don’t have to go on a spirit quest to find it. You don’t have to climb the highest mountain to find it.
The kingdom has been brought to you, right where you are.
This plan that Jesus has is still going on. It is far from complete. The apostles, those sent out when the command to spread the good news, appointed successors to carry on the work after they had received their eternal reward.
Our bishops are in that long line of succession. They proclaim the Good News in Word and Sacrament, and your priests and deacon share in that ministry. You share in that ministry as well by praying for us and supporting us in this work. I hope you are praying for us every day, because we cannot do our work without your support.
Pray also for harmony between all the people in the world that we may be united in faith and hope, and not be divided by fear. Amen.