2023 Lutheran Women in Mission Sunday
LSB #’s 644, 575, 653
God promised to Adam & Eve a Son who would redeem them & all humanity, from the curse of sin. Their disobedience & lawlessness plunged the human race into original sin & actual sin. Our world today would ask, “What is sin?” And our world, as the world always has, does not like God’s answer: “Sin is every thought, desire, word & deed which is contrary to our Lord’s teaching.”
Throughout human history, God pictured the coming redemptive King through various images of His promise, providence, provision & protection. David saw God’s redemptive glory in the return of the Ark of the Covenant from Obed-Edom to Jerusalem. The glory of the Lord returned to His people.
This redemption, proclaimed in the name of the Lord for God’s people, crushed the evil head of sin, Satan & our sinful flesh. This redemption returns us to our Father in the reconciling Word, worship & witness of His Son Jesus – the name which means Savior from sin.
In Psalm 24, King David proclaimed: “Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong & mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory!”
That King of glory, God’s only begotten Son, comes to the world in three ways; 1st, in the promised Son, David’s Lord, the world’s Savior, the incarnate Son of the virgin Mary. 2nd, He comes personally in our hearts, by grace through faith, not of ourselves but as the ultimate gift of God; & 3rd, in His great Parousia on the Last Day of time.
Isn’t it obvious that the world needs to be rescued from itself? The onslaught of brokenness, destruction, & war is all around. We make it worse with our selfish ambition, hatred of others, & self-centered greed. Genesis 6:6 tells us, “And the LORD regretted that He had made man on the earth, & it grieved Him to His heart.” In 2 Timothy 4, the Apostle Paul spoke of the days of lawlessness. “Man’s Inhumanity to Man,” a poem by Robert Burns, refers to human cruelty, barbarity, lack of pity & compassion toward other humans. Through the eyes of sin, we can easily become downcast & heart-broken because of the evil & the hopeless appearance of our world.
After the Fall, mankind has the ability to see & treat other people as less than human. Constant bad news pushes us to give up. Opposing that is the promise of our God for His people. God’s hope, peace, joy & love are what we proclaim in the coming of our Advent King of glory. That is the Good News in a bad news world. Christ is the King of glory, & that King is coming! Paul reminds us:
“…in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, & entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:19–21)
This Women in Mission Sunday, let’s remember the mission work of God’s people – Christ’s church is to proclaim the Good News to all. Jesus reminded the Emmaus disciples of this promise:
“Then [Jesus] opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, & said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer & on the 3rd day rise from the dead, & that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.’” (Luke 24:45–49)
Through the ‘Gospel’ (Romans 1:14–17), those who follow Jesus have received the power of God’s salvation. We are obligated to proclaim that Good News to all people, to Greeks & to barbarians, to the wise & to the foolish. The Gospel is our only hope. As the King of glory comes in, with & through the Gospel, we are buried with Him in Baptism & raised with Him to a new life. (Romans 6)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) In this new life creation, God provides us with every means of grace we need to fight off every kind of evil. Through Word & Sacrament, God provides temporal & eternal means for receiving the King of glory right now & throughout eternity. The Gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first & also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:16-17) That is the verse, through which the Holy Spirit brought the Gospel to Martin Luther, who then brought the Good News back to the Church.
It is easy to believe that our times are the worst of times. We’ve seen horrific & horrible atrocities in our day: wars, the senseless killings of babies, children & adults; racism, homelessness, sex trafficing, every kind of evil one can imagine. We’d surely give up, but for the grace of God, yet, the world has been in the throes of sin, & has needed the Good News, ever since the ‘Fall.’
As Noah found favor in the eyes of God, we too find favor & grace in our King, Jesus. The Gospel is the life-changing message of God for the world. It changed Martin Luther’s life from seeking to appease the wrath of God, by doing good works, to receiving the good grace of God in Christ Jesus.
We look beyond the brokenness of our humanity to the blessed hope of His coming in glory. Like King David, we look to a heavenly King. David knew a thing or two about a dark, inhospitable world in his own life & family. But David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), found hope from the darkness in the light of God’s grace. In Psalm 24, he wrote:
“Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong & mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!” (24:9-10)
And Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, reminds us that the mission of the church, not just the Lutheran Women in Mission, is to pray for all people:
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, & thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings & all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful & quiet life, godly & dignified in every way. This is good, & it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved & to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, & there is one mediator between God & men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:1–6)
A fearful child, sleeping alone in the darkness of her room, cried out to mom & dad as a storm rolled across her Midwest-town: “Mom, dad, come in here,” she cried in the dark of night, as the storm rolled & roared as if it was in the room with her. Mom & dad consoled her, reminding her that they were in the next room & God is in the room with her so she need not be afraid. They encouraged her to go back to sleep, but awakened again & again by the rolling & roaring storm, she said to her parents the last time they entered her room:
“I know you said God is here with me, but I need someone with skin on them.” Our heavenly Father sent His only Son into our world with skin on Him. Looking at the darkness of our sinful world, through the heavenly eyes of the King of glory, by faith we see the promise, providence, & protection of God for His people in Christ. Jesus is God with skin on Him for us.
He is a God, who took on the sin of His creation in His flesh & blood, made His way down the road of agony, pain & suffering, was nailed to a tree, & died for the sins of you & me & the world. May this Lutheran Women in Mission Sunday remind us to be missionaries & share the Gospel throughout our communities so that all people will know of Christ’s immeasurable love for them.
God’s coming King of glory will deliver all who believe in Him from the corruption, the sorrow & the anxiety of this world that we might have everlasting life now & in eternity. It is in that King, Jesus Christ, alone that anyone in this world will be rescued from the chaos of sin. And we can trust in that King because throughout all of human history, He has always kept His promises. Amen.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood & righteousness; no merit of my own I claim but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. When He shall come in trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found, clothed in His righteousness alone, redeemed to stand before His throne! On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. Amen. LSB 575:1, 4.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet