The preaching of God’s Word, administering of God’s Sacraments, and serving others in Jesus’ name are marks of the church and the foundation of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.  We are a congregation of traditional values that seeks to reach out into the world so others might know the love of our risen savior, Jesus the Christ.  “We believe the church to be the hospital for sinners”...Luther. “We also believe that evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread”...Luther.  If you are looking for a church home or just visiting, you are welcomed!   God bless you.  

Pastor Suehr

Sermon by Rev. Dr. Clifton Suehr

For June 10th, 2018

Text Box: Come and Worship...Go and Serve

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH

OF THE HOLY TRINITY

502 Main Street, Irwin, PA  15642    724-863-7350

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             Most of us know the name of Garrison Keillor, who for years was the radio host of the show "Prairie Home Companion."  Keillor is one of the great storytellers of our time.  I've enjoyed a few trips to the wonderful, mythical land of Lake Wobegon.

             Keillor told a story about an experience he had during his teenaged years.  Walking down the sidewalk one day, he saw this unbelievably beautiful woman coming toward him.  What could he do?  He wanted to impress her.  He spied a large white Cadillac parked next to the sidewalk.  Strolling over to the Cadillac, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a dime, put it in the parking meter, and leaned confidently against the Cadillac, smiling at the approaching woman. 

             To his delight, she returned his smile.  She moved toward him, spoke to him, saying "Thank you." Then, she got into the Cadillac and drove off.

             In a limited way, this is a parable about the church. Sometimes, it seems that we make our contribution, lean against the church to look good, but we have no feeling of ownership in the church.  We don't have a deep sense of belonging.  We forget that in our baptism, God made us a part of his people.  By water and God's Word, we were born from above as the children of God.  By Grace, the Lord has called us into His community of faith.  As the children's song goes, "I am the church.  You are the church.  We are the church, together."  In short, we belong to Christ. 

             Because we are Christ's, we have been given a new perspective on life.  We live under the power and influence of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are temples of the Holy Spirit.  We have the promise of God that our lives will continue on for all eternity.  Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, so shall we be raised from the dead.  We can count on God's promised future because the Lord has made good the promises made in the past.  We live to the glory of God seeking to do his will.  In many ways, this makes us radically different from the rest of the world.  In essence, God's love bursts the bonds of our self-centered love so that we love God and others.

             Loving God and others ends up separating us from the world.  We don't play the game of life by the same rules.  We are in the world but not of the world.  We are stewards of the gospel and creation.  As far as the gospel is concerned, we have good news to share with others.  Instead of using the world to meet just our needs, we have a sense of responsibility.  We belong to a community.  We don't use people to meet our needs.  We respect and care for all people.  Truly as we love and care for others it will appear to the rest of the world that we are crazy.   The world only looks out for the self.  As followers of Christ Jesus, we love our neighbors as ourselves.  The irony is that it is only out of this loving lunacy that we make sense out of living.  We are crazy Christ.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit and no one should ever call this good as evil.  Those who do may be in jeopardy of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

             In the church we are aware that the good grows along side of the evil – even within our very selves.  Judging other’s eternal salvation is not our job – only Christ can do this.  Knowing how evil lurks within us, we are more loving and forgiving of others.  The truth of the Gospel has set us free to be the children of God.

             Ultimately, we are free to love and care for others because just like the disciples sat around Jesus in our gospel lesson for today, we are in the inner circle.  Christ is the center of our lives.  We live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  God, not you and I, are in charge.  This is both assuring and humbling.  Living with the Lord in the center of our life reminds us that we are loved and forgiven sinners.  It's reason to rejoice and be glad.  It's reason to live our lives as a celebration of the love we know in God.  It's reason to want to do the will of God in loving others and sharing the gospel in word and in deed.

             It is Christ in the center that our lives which brings us together.  We have a unity of the Holy Spirit.  As Jesus said, those who do the will of the Father are my relatives.  This breaks all the old boundaries of race, gender, age, or social position.  In Jesus, we are not divided.  Christ makes us all one in the Spirit.  We are called to live in a community of faith.

             It is often difficult learning to live out our lives, as our Father in Heaven wants us to live.  Often, we live in fear and suspicion of others.  We are afraid to let go and depend on God to provide.  A pastor from New Jersey shared with me a story about a Wall Street Lawyer who had fallen in love with a young lady.  She happened to be an actress.  The lawyer believed that often actresses had sordid pasts and could possibly even deceive him about really loving him.  So, before he proposed to her, this Wall Street lawyer decided to hire a private detective to spy on the young lady and check out her past. 

             After about three weeks, the private eye returned with his report for the Wall Street lawyer.  He had interviewed many of the friends and associates of the young lady.   It seems that the young lady was a well-respected professional in her field.  She got along with others and had a good reputation.  Everything was on the up and up, except, that recently she was known to hang around a shady character - a lawyer who worked on Wall Street. 

             In Christ, we are a community of faith.  By Grace we have been included in God's inner circle.  As forgiven sinners, we have much for which to rejoice and be glad.  We are the people that God has made!  When we can put away our fears and suspicions of each other and then work together in the name of Jesus, we will do the Will of God.  We will be a community whose faith will motivate us to acts of love.  This is our true calling.  This is who we really are.  We do belong. 

             Thanks be to God.   

             Amen