Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lenten Theme - The Apostles Creed - God the Father

My Lenten theme this year is the Apostle's Creed. I've never done the Apostles Creed before nor heard of anyone else doing it. But we were covering it in Confirmation and I was thinking there is some really good stuff here. And being that Lent is traditionally a time of catechesis in the church, I thought I could get away with a more didactic approach for my midweek sermons.

I did God the Father tonight. Then I'll do two weeks on the Son, next week Who is Jesus? and then "What did Jesus do?" and then the last week for the Holy Spirit. I'm using the explanation from Luther's Small Catechism as a litany for each article.

Tonight I took the three adjectives for the First Person - Almighty, Creator and Father.

Almighty - I talked about the utter holiness and "otherness" of God, which I think we lose sight of in this culture. Especially with all the guests on Oprah telling us we are part of God and God is part of us. Nope, actually we are not part of God. We are created by God. But we are not in God or of God. If we look inside ourselves we will not find God.

Creator - Again this also emphasizes how we are not God. God is the Creator. We are the created. But we are not here by some random fluke. We are here because God wants us to be here. Also as Luther's explanation points out - God did not just create us and go off to Starbucks for latte and forget about us. God continues to care for us and sustain us and provide for us. I could have talked about our role in caring for creation but this sermon was not about us. It was about God. It's good to take our focus off ourselves once in a while.

Father: I think it's important to first understand God as Almighty and Creator so that we can appreciate what amazing love that God who is not only the Father of Jesus, but a
s Paul writes in the first chapter of Ephesians 

“He has destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ”. So even though in ourselves there is nothing that makes us part of God--we are part of God because he has made us so through adoption. It’s important though to start by understanding how far away we were from God so that we can really appreciate what God has done by bringing us into him through his Son Jesus. God the Father Almighty, the Creator and Ruler of the universe has come down to us and reconciled us to him in Christ. And every time we confess “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth” we are doing more than just acknowledging that God exists, we are expressing our trust and faith in the One who not only gave us life, but who sustains us and provides and cares for us and who loves us enough to invite us to call him Father. And as Martin Luther teaches us in our small catechism,
All this is done out of pure, fatherly and divine goodness and mercy without any merit or worthiness of mine at all. For all of this I owe it to God to thank and praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true.

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