Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son
Saturday evening service at Holy Cross Lutheran, Pastor Sattler presiding.
Three of our songs titles included the phrase or word ‘Holy Spirit’, ‘Jesus’ and ‘God’. I think Pastor is softening us up for The Athenasian Creed. It is just around the corner on Trinity Sunday, which is June 11 this year (2017).
Shhh – don’t tell anyone or they might just pull the covers back over their heads that morning.
Why? Because it is a long and wordy creed. It is important, though, because it describes The Trinity by how God, Jesus, and The Holy Ghost are each separate entities while at the same time being one entity. It is 44 lines long. If you say it at one time, you’ll trip over the lines and won’t be able to give it due attention. If you pronounce it divided over the course of a service, well, the same thing happens. It would behoove you to look it up either in the red hymnal or the internet and give it a read at your own pace. If nothing else it will give you an idea how difficult some aspects of Christianity are to comprehend.
Our songs tonight were “Holy Spirit, Ever Dwelling”; “In Christ There Is No East or West; “Give Thanks; “What is This Bread?”; and “God Bless Our Native Land”.
We prayed for the Church and for our church. We prayed for our congregants who serve in the military and we thanked our God for those who died for our freedoms.
We were reminded of our sins and were reassured of our forgiveness of those sins.
Pastor Sattler’s sermon, “While We Wait“, was based on Acts 1:12-26. Jesus, before He ascended, told the apostles to go back to the upper room and wait for The Holy Spirit to come to them so they could work on starting and growing His church. Not only did they not know how long they were to wait but didn’t know what they were waiting for. When The Spirit whooshed! down from Heaven unto them ten days later they were filled with the knowledge of The Lord, knew how to speak different languages, and were given the abilties to heal sicknesses and devil possessions. This day, the fiftieth after His resurrection, is called Pentecost. The Church of Christ had begun.
That was 2,000 years ago. Today we still wait His return in His glorified body.
Waiting is one of those things The Lord requires of us. It’s not because He doesn’t have things figured out yet but because we are a creation made antsy through sin. Abraham was told he’d be the father of all nations. It came to pass 25 years later through his son Isaac but in the mean time he tried to move prophecy along by having a child through Sarah’s servant, Hagar. She gave birth to Ishmael who is regarded a patriarch of Islam. It makes one wonder what the state of the world would be had Abraham not taken matters into his own hands. His own son, Isaac, was tricked into serving his father-in-law, Laban, for 14 years instead of 7 years by foisting his hard-to-marry daughter, Leah, onto him in secret rather than his beloved, Rachael (read all about it in Genesis 29). 14 years to wed your heart’s content is a very long time to wait. In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah had to endure taunting and ridicule as well as wait a very long time before her womb was opened to pregnancy and gave birth to Samuel, whom she dedicated to God. He would later become a prophet of God.
In the modern era, people have been waiting for Jesus to come back since the moment he ascended. The apostles stood there slack-jawed as Jesus disappeared from their sights. It took two angels to snap them out of it to get them on with their their jobs, evangelizing and baptising the lost in the name of Jesus. Just so you know, Jesus isn’t late. He is always on time but because of our impatience and selfishness we think He ought to speed it up a bit and get us out of here, away from the jerks who really deserve to go to Hell. But there were people praying the same thing back in ’97 when my sins were unredeemed. I’m glad He ignored them.
While you wait for Jesus, you’ll be waiting for other things as well. The laundry to finish, the plane to land, the cashier to ring up the groceries, the tap lessons to end, or the casserole to finish baking. In the times between ‘start’ and ‘finish’, you can be doing something to help others into the Kingdom. You can talk to a friend about their needs and wants and how Jesus can see them through their issues. You can study the Bible and learn insights to His word that can help others as well as yourself. And you can pray. Pray that you can do the first two items better. Pray for the sake of others no matter who they are and what they have done to you, if anything. Paul, an apostle of Christ, was originally a student of the Torah and a harsh critic of Christianity. He set out to arrest and persecute persons in the early days of the Church. While on the way, he was blinded by Jesus and sent to a fellow named Judas of Damascus. Judas fed him and prayed for him after having been commanded to do so by Jesus in a dream. Three days later he was given his eyesight back by Jesus. He became a fervant servant of The Lord with the help of others who believed in Jesus. They had no idea how by merely obeying Jesus they changed the life of Paul and through him, the lives of countless millions, perhaps billions.
Do your best to help anyone. It’s OK if you clunk along giving a few people your testimony. And a few more after that. And then a few more after them. You’ll get better at expressing yourself with the help of The Holy Spirit. Pastors will tend to large flocks and high finance ministries will see to millions around the world. Jesus knows your limits. Just stay busy with the ‘waiting’ time you’ve been given. God doesn’t want anyone to perish.
2 Peter 3:9: Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.
And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”
Give thanks, give thanks
Grover (he said with this ring ‘I promise’, and with I do she said ‘forever’) Carol