Sunday, March 08, 2020

Sermon for 3/8/2020: Second Sunday in Lent

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

We are not the lost sheep of the house of Israel. We are dogs. We deserve worse than simply being ignored. Our ancestors according to blood were pagans and heathen. They did not wrestle with the Lord in the desert. They did not keep God’s Law. Even so, the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table. The dogs eat and are satisfied. They are held and scratched and loved. Without our Lord’s mercy, we die. Without our Lord, we bow before this world’s prince, the one who seeks to dominate and destroy, who rules a kingdom of perfect fairness and punishment, who would give us all that we deserve. Spare us, O Lord, or else we have no hope!
We have bowed before the devil for far too long. He has sorely abused us. His flattery and promises evaporate like dew in the sun. He never delivers or satisfies. He always hurts us. The only thing he feeds is our addictions. We are dirty from his touch, humiliated, dying. And we are afraid.
Honestly, we have brought much of this misery upon ourselves. We have complicated our sad lives with lies and vain plotting. We have risked everything God gives for the sake of a moment’s pleasure. We’ve even tried to fool ourselves, but we know the truth. Even though we’ve learned to wipe our hard drives, eliminate evidence, and pretend we’ve forgotten, we are still haunted by our guilt. We have manipulated and bullied, stolen and coveted, gossiped and slandered. And no matter how much we are honored and respected by men, we know that God knows the truth. We have been so stupid, so selfish, so vain! Our friends and loved ones have borne the brunt of our sin. We are afraid, and rightly so. We are weary. We have nearly ruined everything God has given. Despair and depravity, loneliness and regret are all we know on our own.
But we are not on our own. “Remember, O Lord!” We dare not ask for justice; God forbid that He give us what we deserve. We ask only for mercy. We ask for restoration, for redemption. We ask that God keeps His Word. We are not worthy. We are but beggars. So we beg: Be merciful. Crush the serpent’s head. Love us. Forgive our sins. Wash us clean. Make us Your people again. Keep Your Word. Be gracious. Be our God. “O Lord, Son of David, have mercy upon us.”
We beg Him for the sake of His death. This death He died, alone and without comfort, He died for all. He died for us, dogs and beggars and traitors that we are. He died for His children who can barely stand to spend one grudging hour in His house to worship Him. He died for us. He rose for us. He satisfied all that Justice asked. He quenched the Father’s wrath. He paid the devil’s ransom. He defeated death and Hell. He has brokered peace between God and man. He calls us to be His own. He washes us clean in the bloody waters of Holy Baptism.
God’s Word cannot lie. He has promised to deliver us from evil, and our Lord Jesus has done so in His death and resurrection. He gives us the fulfillment of that victory in Holy Baptism, in the gracious Word of Holy Absolution, in the eating and the drinking of His body and blood. He sustains us in these gifts, and He comforts us in them, for in these we have life and a future. Thanks be to God, for He lets us be dogs at His table, where we eat the crumbs of His grace. 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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