Sunday Sermon – Pr. Loren

redMy hope for you, who come today to affirm your baptism, is that over the years of your confirmation instruction you have come to understand something about the love that God has for you. I hope you understand that God made each one of you a beautiful and precious person, that God’s love continually seeks to wrap its arms around you, and that no matter what you do or what you think, God’s love for you will never go away. I hope you understand that Jesus calls you his friend, and that he walks with you, and that he knows exactly how you feel, and that—no matter what—he will always be there as your friend. Lost and Found, a Christian rock group whose music I’ve gotten to know, puts it this way:

Do you have a friend who love you, even in your darkest day

Do you have a friend who love you even when your own love’s gone away

Do you have a friend who’ll wait for you any time of the day or night

Well I’ve got this friend named Jesus and he wants to get into your life.

 

When you think of who your best friend is it’s someone you can trust

Jesus is the kind of friend with the kind of love that won’t rust

Do you have a friend who loves you even when you’re not right

Well I’ve got this friend named Jesus and He wants to get into your life.

 

Do you have a friend who’s felt every woe that you can feel

And there will never be a sickness that this friend’s love couldn’t heal

Do your have a friend who loves you even when you’re not sure

And there’s nothing in all creation this friend’s love could not endure

It’s a love that knows no limit and each day it seems like more

I’ve got this friend named Jesus and He’s pounding on your door

Do you have a friend who knows your every need

Do you have a friend whose love has already been guaranteed

Do you have a friend to whom your deepest secrets you can tell

Do you have a friend who loves you enough to take your place in hell

When the world comes crashing down on you and the trouble is too much

Do you have a friend who’ll get under you and hold you like a crutch

When the doubts that can defeat you crush your soul like the sharpest knife

Do you have a friend who’ll feed you not with plain food, but with life

And when being alive itself is too much of a chore

You’ve got this friend named Jesus now and evermore

And when being alive itself is too much of a chore

You’ve got this friend named Jesus now and evermore

That’s the good news! You’ve got this friend named Jesus—now and evermore. And his love—his love is so big—so big that there’s room enough for absolutely everybody. And His love is so personal—so personal that he cares about every little thing about you—all your worries, all your uncertainties, all your frustrations—none of them are too small or insignificant for Jesus to want to listen to each one of them. In fact, God has made you into a kind of temple where God’s own Spirit lives. God isn’t out there in some hard-to-reach place, God is right here, living inside each one of us.

And so now, now that you know what a wonderful God you have—now that you know what a friend you have in Jesus—now that you know that the Holy Spirit lives within you—now that you know that God’s love has been sealed for you forever through the death of Jesus, what are you going to do? —How are you going to respond? That‘s the question. We get all mixed up sometimes, and start asking the question: “What must I do to be saved?” But that’s the wrong question! Jesus has already done everything necessary; there is truly nothing left for any of us to do. But, now that you know the awesome and amazing good news of God’s love, what are you going to do?

The rhythm of God’s love is beating inside you. It just makes sense to walk in step with it. The melody of Jesus friendship is singing in your hearts. It just makes sense to sing harmonies with it. The Spirit is God is moving through you. It just makes sense to dance to the music. And so, you make promises today—and those promises are the way you seek to live out the great commandment: to love God and love your neighbor. Specifically your promise: to live among God’s faithful people, to hear God’s Word and share in our Lord’s Supper, to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people following the example of our Lord Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth. And what that means is that today, you intend to live your life in a way that connects you with God. And being connected to God means that God’s love flows through you. And when God’s love flows through you it’s kind of like a dance. God invites you to dance—to dance the dance of God’s love, and God promises that when you dance with God, joy will fill you in ways that you could never predict. When you feel alone, when troubles come that you can’t handle, when you don’t know where to turn for hope, Jesus will be there to walk beside you and to carry you whenever you need it. That’s what it means to dance with God. And the dance leads you to love and to serve—to love what God loves—all the people of the world, all the beauty of the earth—to serve as Jesus served—reaching out to others with hope, compassion, creativity, and welcome. And the way you dance with God will not be the same as the way anybody else dances with God. God may be the one who leads you in the dance, but God responds to your movements and to your creativity, so that your dance with God is completely unique. For you—each one of you—are precious to God and deeply valued, and there is none other quite like you that God has created—and God loves you for exactly who you are. So, as you affirm you faith today, think of it as stepping out to take God’s hand and to be led into the dance God dances with you. As another song by Lost and Found puts it:

Now let us dance for the victory is won

Now let us sing for the song has begun

Now let us live in the light of the Son

Gathered and called and united as one

AMEN.

 

COPYRIGHT NOTICES:

“He’s A Friend,” Words and Music by Michael D. Bridges and George Baum © 1998 by Lost and Found; “Dance,” Words and Music by Michael D. Bridges and George Baum © 1999 by Lost and Found; CCLI License No.944904.