Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ash Wednesday - Wyneken Chapel

Ash Wednesday
Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School Chapel
1 March 2017
The Salutary Gift: Grain, Wine, and Oil
Joel 2:12-19
Return to the LORD your God.” (Joel 2:13)

You may eat the fruit from any tree in the Garden... But not this one. Not from the tree in the middle of the garden.  Not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Did you hear those words of instruction? Words, which God gave to Adam and Eve. They seemed so simple. “Choose. But choose wisely."  To make the wrong choice would bring death. 

Look deeper! What else do you see? There is the serpent. Satan! Planting seeds of doubt. Into the minds of Adam and Eve. It didn’t take much. Just a simple question: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). And suddenly Adam and Eve are no longer seriously considering the consequences of their actions. 

Adam and Eve would find out the hard way. That God was serious when He said, “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” For “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), says the apostle. And death. Is what they got.

You, too. Know the commandments of God. Yet, how quickly the warnings of God’s Word are ignored. When you see something that you want. You try to pretend that God has not spoken. Or that He was not serious about what He has clearly said. Like Adam and Eve. We are in need of a Savior. 

Adam and Eve needed a Savior. And so do you. A Savior from sin and its consequences. It would take Jesus to do this. It would take the Son of God, becoming a person. Taking your sin. Your shame. And your death upon Himself. It would take Jesus. True God and true Man to make you clean again.  But this Jesus has done for you because He loves and cares for you!

Today is Ash Wednesday. We begin the season of Lent. With ashes of repentance. And faith which rises out of the Ashes. We take our place next to Adam and Eve. And hear the terrifying voice of the Lord: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

But we also remember. That only Jesus can save. Only Jesus can heal. Only Jesus can make satisfaction for your sin. All of this He did. So that Adam and his children might live. So look to Jesus. Trust His word. His work. His love. 

To help us remember Jesus’ love for us. We remember the Lord’s Supper. The fruit the devil offered brings bitterness and death. The fruit Jesus offers is salvation and life. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was pleasing to the eye.  There is nothing extraordinary.  The appearance of this fruit. Simple bread. And simple wine. To our eyes. It seems too ordinary. Grain. Wine. Oil.  They appear so powerless. What can a dying criminal offer for you? 

But that’s the wonderful thing about our kind and gracious Lord. He takes the common things of this world. And uses them to make them special. Words mean something. Trust the sure words of Jesus! This IS my body. This IS my blood. Given and shed for you. For the forgiveness of sins.”

On this Ash Wednesday. We remember. In the beginning, God warned Adam concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” But now. In the body and blood of Christ. God has made a solemn pledge. A promise to you. And to all the faithful. “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely live.”

Words –635
Passive Sentences -1%
Readability – 89.4%
Reading Level – 2.3

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