Sunday, May 3, 2009

Jubilate - The Third Sunday after Easter

Butterfly, by Norma Boeckler

Jubilate, The Third Sunday after Easter

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #201 Jesus Lives 2.81
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual 1 Peter 2:11-20
The Gospel John 16:16-23
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #A Hymn of Glory 2:93

A Little While - Sorrow into Joy

The Hymn #205 The Day of Resurrection 2:90
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #656 Behold a Host 2:39

KJV 1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

KJV John 16:16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. 17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. 19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. 23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

Third Sunday After Easter
Lord God, heavenly Father, who of Thy fatherly goodness dost suffer Thy children to come under Thy chastening rod here on earth, that we may be like unto Thine only-begotten Son in suffering and hereafter in glory: We beseech Thee, comfort us in temptations and afflictions by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not fall into despair, but that we may continually trust in Thy Son's promise, that our trials will endure but a little while, and will then be followed by eternal joy; that we thus, in patient hope, may overcome all evil, and at last obtain eternal salvation, through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

A Little While - Sorrow into Joy
The Bible is concise rather than wordy. The Holy Spirit reveals everything we need to know, from Creation until the End Times. Yet this passage is so repetitive that we can hardly believe it.

16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me – this is stated four times in a few verses.

Because the revealed Word is so concise, this repetition marks the importance of this simple phrase. The Holy Spirit, using the simple but profound language of the apostle John, wanted this remembered above all.

If we reflect a little, we can see why.

This passage is part of the farewell messages of Jesus, preserved in John’s Gospel. As I wrote before, quoting Lenski, John’s Gospel unites all four Gospels by supplementing what we would not have otherwise and by supplying details for the other Gospel writers when we already know that particular story.

There is a tradition in many cultures to pay special attention to someone’s last words. For example, when a man confesses something on his deathbed, it is generally believed because he would have no reason to deceive. Besides, he may want to clear his conscience before meeting his Maker.

In the Old Testament the death of a patriarch was accompanied by statements of great importance.

Jesus final words during His earthly ministry were even more important.

Knowing our nature, our impatience, He reminded them and still reminds us that sorrow turns to joy in just a little while.

Childbirth is the analogy used in Jesus’ message. When a woman is in labor, her world is nothing but pain and sorrow. There is a Jewish saying that a woman curses her husband during childbirth but repents afterwards, especially if she has a boy. During labor, everyone involved is focused on a safe delivery, and it can take a long time. The time seems to stretch out for those waiting outside. In the old days, when fathers were banned from the delivery room, the cartoons showed prospective fathers smoking packs of cigarettes, playing cards, and developing three-day beards.

Jesus taught this to His disciples so they would remember to be patient, their sorrow soon to be turned into joy. And we remember that on this Sunday, that everything was destroyed—apparently—by the forces of evil on Good Friday. The sorrow everyone felt was turned to joy in a few days. The power of that sorrow is shown in the reluctant giving up of the grief they all felt – not to mention their fear.
Rather than look down on the disciples, we can identify with their emotions and their weakness. During difficulties--especially the loss of a family member—sorrow seems overwhelming and permanent. This is not changed by someone living to be 90 or more, or by that person’s ultimate release from great physical pain. Difficult people leave behind more unresolved grief than loved ones. This was said of a minister who died – “The only person who was sad at the funeral was his widow.” That is quite a legacy of pain to leave behind.

Many people are living well into middle age, even close to retirement, with their parents still living. We have a restaurant in town, part of a chain, where people like to take their parents for lunch. Mimi’s is a restaurant where you can see little old ladies taking their mothers - even older, little old ladies to lunch on Mother’s Day.

Even though someone has lived past three-score and ten, grief is not resolved for a year. Unfortunately, our culture does not recognize that part of human nature. People act as if sorrow is over when the funeral is done. But the fog of grief continues for a year and sharpens on certain anniversaries and holidays. It is very strange to have so many events associated with one or two people and then have those people absent.

Jubilate Sunday reminds us of the joy we have in this life, knowing that faith in Christ transforms that sorrow.

In weakness we think of all the happiness we have as being tied to a group of objects, events, people, and circumstance. One funny commentary on this can be found in The Who Wouldn’t Be, by Farley Mowatt. They stayed at a farm where a 200 year old pine came crashing down during a big windstorm. The farmer was very upset about it. “Why don’t you plant a new one?” The farmer said, angrily, “Why? It will just blow down anyway.”

The disciples wanted to go on as they had with Christ, listening to His sermons, seeing His miracles performed, enjoying His companionship. Doubtless there was a joy and unity during His earthly ministry that we would all envy. As Jesus pointed out to them at the end, His ministry had to change for God’s plans to be carried out, for the Gospel to reach the entire world.

The Gospel teaches us to view time as a continuum, from God’s viewpoint. Instead of loss in this life, we see the joys of the moment being a foretaste of eternal life with Christ.
Luther said it was good to be plagued in this life, so we do not cling to it, but welcome eternal life as the ultimate reality.

22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

Jesus was preparing His disciples for persecution and death. First they would have the sorrow of losing His earthly ministry. Next they would have the sorrow of being seen as enemy soldiers, dangerous rebels, hunted from place to place, most of them dying by violence. From our perspective we see the apostles as laying the foundation of the Christian Church with their sermons, miracles, and writings. From their perspective it must have been a hard, lonely life of hatred and strife, their own brother disciples lost - one after another.

When grief is resolved in our daily lives, we realize how much someone meant to us. What was once a painful memory, because of the happiness lost, turns into a repeating experience of joy, because we can enjoy that memory again and again.

The Means of Grace give us great comfort in knowing that eternal life unites us with all believers. There is great meaning in Holy Baptism and Holy Communion, in trusting in the merits of Christ rather than our own perfection.

We are going to publish Angel Joy again, very soon. Bethany earned the nickname Angel because her curly blond hair and smile made her look like an angel. Erin was nicknamed Joy by nurses, because she laughed so easily. They loved caring for her, and she loved them individually. I often told Erin a story about a nurse I might have met just once. She was a night nurse who had long talks with Erin. I would pretend to struggle to remember her name (Motor Mouth Annie) and when I finally got it out, Erin just beamed with pleasure. Those home movies run in our minds all the time, and we laugh about them routinely.

We knew what we would experience with a second child dying of a neurological degenerative disorder, so we decided to enjoy every moment. There was plenty of sorrow, but we remember getting in trouble at the hospital for laughing too hard. No one can take joy away from a believer, as Jesus promised.

23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

Verse 23 is another example of Jesus building up our faith with His comforting message and offering one more blessing – that we can ask for anything in His name, “and He will give it to you.”

"The nice, envious person who is sad when another prospers, and would gladly have one eye less if thereby his neighbor had none, is the product of Satan."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 102.

"Here in this Gospel we see how the Lord comforts and imparts courage to His children whom He is about to leave behind Him, when they would come in fear and distress on account of His death or of their backsliding. We also notice what induced the evangelist John to use so many words that he indeed repeats one expression four times, which according to our thinking he might have epressed in fewer words."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 73f.

"An example is here given us, which we should diligently lay hold of and take to heart; if it went with us as it did in the time of the apostles, that we should be in suffering, anxiety and distress, we should also remember to be strong and to rejoice because Christ will rise again."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 75.

"Therefore we must also feel within us this 'a little while' as the dear disciples felt it, for this is written for our example and instruction, so that we may thereby be comforted and be made better. And we should use this as a familiar adage among ourselves; yes, we should feel and experience it, so that we might at all times say, God is at times near and at times He has vanished out of sight. At times I remember how the Word seems neither to move me nor to apply to me. It passes by; I give no heed to it. But to this 'a little while' we must give heed and pay attention, so that we may remain strong and steadfast. We will experience the same as the disciples."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 75f.

"And although we do at times depart from the Word, we should not therefore remain altogether away from it, but return again, for He makes good His Word. Even though man cannot believe it, God will nevertheless help him to believe it, and this He does without man's reason or free will and without man adding anything thereto."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 76.

"So very little does the free will and understanding of man know of the things pertaining to the salvation of the soul. These temporal things the free will can perceive and know, such as the cock crowing, which he can hear and his reason can also understand it; but when it is a question of understanding the work and Word of God, then human reason must give it up; it cannot make head or tail of it, although it pretends to understand a great deal about it. The gory thereof is too bright, the longer he beholds it the blinder he becomes."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 76f.

"We should take to heart and firmly hold fast to these words and keep them in mind when in sorrow and distress, that it will not last long, then we would also have more constant joy, for as Christ and His elect had their 'a little while,' so you and I and everyone will have his 'a little while.' Pilate and Herod will not crucify you, but in the same manner as the devil used them so he will also use your persecutors. Therefore when your trials come, you must not immediately think how you are to be delivered out of them. God will help you in due time. Only wait. It is only for a little while, He will not delay long."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 77.

[ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy] "This is spoken to all Christians, for every Christain must have temptations, trails, anxieties, adversities, sorrows, come what may. Therefore He mentions here no sorrow nor trial, He simply says they shall weep, lament, and be sorrowful, for the Christian has many persecutions. Some are suffering loss of goods; others there are whose character is suffering ignominy and scorn; some are drowned, others are burned; some are beheaded; one perishes in this manner, and another in that; it is therefore the lot of the Christian constantly to suffer misfortune, persecution, trials and adversity. This is the rod or fox tail with which they are punished. They dare not look for anything better as long as they are here. This is the court color by which the Christian is recognized,and if anyone wants to be a Christian, he dare not be ashamed of his court color or livery."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 79.

"Why does God do this and permit His own to be persecuted and hounded? In order to suppress and subdue the free will, so that it may not seek an expedient in their works; but rather become a fool in God's works and learn thereby to trust and depend upon God alone."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 79f.

[woman in travail] This parable of the woman is a strong and stubborn argument against free will, that it is entirely powerless and without strength in the things pertaining to the salvation of our souls. The Gospel shows very plainly that divine strength and grace are needed. Man's free will is entirely too weak and insignificant to accomplish anything here. But we have established our own orders and regulations instead of the Gospel and through these we want to free ourselves from sin, from death, from hell, and from all misfortune and finally be saved thereby. A great mistake."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 81.

[woman in travail] "The woman is here in such a state of mind that she is fearful of great danger, and yet she knows that the whole work lies in the hands of God; in Him she trusts; upon Him it is she depends; He also helps her and accomplishes the work, which the whole world could not do, and she thinks of nothing but the time that shall follow, when she shall again rejoice; and her heart feels and says, A dangerous hour is at hand, but afterwards it will be well. Courage and the heart press through all obstacles. Thus it will also be with you, when you are in sorrow and adversity, and when you become new creatures. Only quietly wait and permit God to work. He will accomplish everything without your assistance."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 81.

[woman in travail] ..."but wait thou patiently and permit God to do with you according to His will. He shall accomplish it; permit Him to work. We shall accomplish nothing ourselves, but at times we shall feel death and hell. This the ungodly shall also feel, but they do not believe that God is present in it and wants to help them. Just as the woman here accomplishes nothing, she only feels pain, distress and misery; but she cannot help herself out of this state."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 82.

John 16:20 - "Such people, however, do not understand divine things, they think they will suddenly enter death with Christ, whom they have never learned to know except in words. Thus was Peter also disposed, but he stood before Christ like a rabbit before one beating a drum. Notice, how the old Adam lacks courage when under the cross! The new man, however, can indeed persevere through grace."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 85.

"In suffering pious persons have no aim of their own, but if it be God's will they bear good fruit like the tree planted by streams of water; and that is pleasing to God, and besides all presumption is condemned, all show and every excuse however good they may be. But he who battles heroically will receive for his suffering here joy, the eternal in place of the temporal. Of this Christ says: 'Your joy will be turned into sorrow.'"
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols.,
III, p. 86.

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