Sunday, July 06, 2014

Sermon for 6/29/14--Trinity II



Hungry for the Feast

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

Our Father in heaven has made us a feast! He has sent His Lamb, Jesus Christ, to be slaughtered for our sins and to be the main course at the meal of salvation. Just as someone works hard to prepare a feast that will be a sumptuous setting of savory delights, so the Father has prepared a feast for us that is far beyond anything in this world. When the Father sends the Son, He is preparing a feast. And this feast is for you.

We come to this feast when we hear and believe the preaching and teaching of God's Word and when we eat and drink the Lamb's own body and blood. Since Christ is the feast that is prepared for us, to partake of this feast means to receive Christ. It means to hear His Word and eat and drink His body and blood. And just like a good meal sustains and refreshes us, even more so the Lord's feast renews us with eternal life and salvation. The Lord washes us up for the Supper in the waters of Holy Baptism. He invites us in and washes our feet again through the words of Holy Absolution. We hear His Word read. We hear the sermon preached. We have the wonderful flavors and textures of the liturgy and the hymns. And then we enjoy the main course, the body and blood of Jesus. The feast our Lord gives us to enjoy is the feast of forgiveness, life and salvation.

And while the Lord wants everyone to come to His feast, most people don't want the feast. When the things of this world cause us to reject the Lord's invitation and to skip out on His feast, then there is the warning. When we love the things of this life more than Christ and His gifts, we have rejected the feast, despised the invitation. But here's the scary thing. What happens to the people that refused the Lord's invitation? In His wrath, the Lord declares, “They will never eat my supper!” Those who despise the feast will perish apart from the Lord and His mercy. But here's the shocking thing. Here's what we have to understand when we hear the Lord's condemnation. When the Lord condemns on the Last Day, He is not doing anything else than giving people what they want. If they don't want the Lord and the Feast of His Son, then they don't have to have it or Him or anything else. That is the punishment for those who don't want the feast of the Lord: He gives them exactly what they really want!

But for those whom the Holy Spirit has called, gathered and enlightened, those who have not rejected the gifts our Father freely gives us, we have this Word from our Lord as our gift of repentance, to turn us away from despising the Lord's gifts and bring us to cling to them in faith as the most precious of treasures. Here, in this feast, Christ washes you, absolves you, preaches and teaches to you, and gives you His own flesh and blood for your salvation. He who is the Bread of Life and the Lamb of God is the main course of this feast, and through Him we have everlasting life. That's a feast that's so rich and plentiful the whole world can have it. You can have it all the time, every Sunday if you want it, every time the people of the Lord gather! There's enough for all people of all times and all places. You who are wearied and hungry from your long journey in this world, come and take your place at the Lord’s table, for the feast is ready! The feast of Jesus is prepared for you. Come and enjoy it now forever and ever. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always.  Amen.  

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