Archive for June, 2011

The Cross We Bear!

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Second Sunday in Pentecost, June 26, 2011
Pastor Brian Henderson-Trinity Lutheran Church, San Diego, CA
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“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” [Matt. 10:38-39]

INTRODUCTION: You know throughout our Bible there is one message that God continually offers to His people who relate to Him by faith, and that is peace.  In Hebrew, the word for peace is Shalom!  What that word actually means is wholeness.  If you are whole, that is if you are all that God originally created you to be, you will have peace.  And that is the one thing that all people of every race, ethnicity, and religion have in common; we are all searching for wholeness; for peace!  So then why did the Prince of Peace, the Savior of the world say, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth.  I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” [Matt. 10:34]  Why did he say that in order to find our life we must lose our life?  The answer of course can only be found in the cross; it can only be found in the death of Jesus Christ and the example of living to die that He gave to us.

 The cross of Jesus Christ does bring wholeness and life, but it also brings conflict, turmoil and death; it brings these things first within us and then around us.  So this morning we will be learning how do die to live.  We will learn how death brings life to ourselves first and then we will learn how dying brings death and life to those around us!

In our Epistle lesson (Rom. 7:1-13) St. Paul confronts us with these words of life and death: “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.  For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.  But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” [vs. 4-6]

 What Paul is talking about is how we become whole, or how we are recreated to have peace within ourselves; God’s peace that not only gives us peace with Him, but peace with our neighbor.  He wants us to first understand that we were set free from the Law; a law that demands that we do this or that to please God, but then offers us no way to actually do what it demands be done!  He does this by pointing us to the death of Jesus upon the cross.  When Christ died upon the cross He set us free to be people of God; free to know peace and wholeness.  But in order to receive this peace we need to see the need to die alongside of Jesus Christ; only those of us who are connected with Jesus in His death, can experience the peace and wholeness that His resurrection brings.  The death of Jesus Christ can only free those are willing to put all of their hopes of peace and wholeness in that death of Jesus.  There is no room for any other method or technique.  Doing your best to please God and find happiness won’t work; there is simply nothing you can do but surrender to your complete helplessness and trust instead in what Jesus’ death provides for you.  This is what dying to yourself means.

Paul illustrates this in a wonderful way by comparing us to a married woman.  He says that “a married woman is bound by the law (that is the 6th commandment that calls adultery a sin, as long as that married woman’s husband still lives), but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage (and is free to marry again without fear of sin).  (So), she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive.  But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.” [vs. 1-3]

Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have been freed from our oppressive dependence on the law; we no longer need to try to be something we never could be.  What is it that we were trying to be?  We were trying to be whole; we were trying on our own to have peace with God.  But as long as we are counting on the efforts of our sinful flesh that could never happen.  So Jesus solves that dilemma for us by His death.  He died the death that we should die to satisfy our inability to fulfill the law; this is a death that frees us from the law so that we may seek a new means to find wholeness and peace with God.  His death frees us from our dependence on fulfilling the law perfectly so that we might belong to Him!  In keeping with Paul’s illustration of marriage, Jesus frees us from the tyranny of our first marriage so that we can be remarried to Him; then and only then can we truly be whole and know peace.  But our old sinful nature does not want to go away that easily.  It fights to live; not only that, it fights to destroy our faith and satisfaction in God’s means of wholeness and peace.  When faith comes alive within our hearts through the means of God’s Word, our sinful nature continually seeks to find ways to defeat it and turn us back to the law, or our own ability to live a good life, as an alternative way of earning God’s love and wholeness.  What is the solution?  We must put to death, every day our old sinful nature.  We must learn to die so that we can live!  This is our internal cross that we must die upon every day.  But if we’re left to do this on our own, we’ll be in no better condition than we were when we were under the law.  On our own, we can never have faith to trust in Jesus and His cross.  That is why God provides this faith for us.  How does He do this?  By living within us! 

In our baptism we were sealed as God’s own possession through His means, the water and His Word.  In our baptism, the Holy Spirit actually took up residence within us.  Daily, we are asked to embrace God’s Spirit within us by turning to His leading presence and dying to our own sinful desires.  So the Holy Spirit is our actual teacher, who teaches us to die every day, and God’s Word is the text book that He teaches through!  But this is more than just a teaching; it’s a relationship of love, trust, wholeness, and peace with God that continues everyday of our lives until we leave this sinful world and our own sinful flesh behind.  But this dying to self doesn’t just happen internally; you see we must also learn to die to the things and concerns that are around us.

In our Old Testament lesson, we are introduced to the prophet Jeremiah.  He was a man familiar with sorrows and woes.  In fact, he is often called the “weeping” prophet, because so many of the messages that the Lord asked him to declare caused him to weep for his fellow Jews.  He was hated by most of them, because many of his messages from God were unpopular.  In fact, on several occasions he was thrown into prison and threatened with death if he returned.  What was the message that Jeremiah brought from the Lord?  Repent!  Don’t trust in a worldly way of finding wholeness and peace with God, but trust in the Lord’s Means of wholeness.  Turn away from a mindset that says happiness can be found in the comfort of wealth and the security of earthly friends, and instead trust in the Lord’s plan.  That was the last message that the Jews wanted to hear; they wanted Jeremiah to sit down and shut up!  So poor Jeremiah spent most of his time away from his people, and he only returned when he had another painful message from God.  We might say that Jeremiah would be completely at home singing that old African American spiritual, “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, a long, long ways from home.”  What Jeremiah discovered is what we need to learn too: Each of us must take up our cross and follow Jesus. 

For Jeremiah, the cross that he was to take up was simply to declare God’s Word and place all of his faith in that Word, and that is the cross that we must take up as well.  Like Jeremiah, we too live in dangerous times.  There is terror all around.  In a time of extreme tolerance, where all life styles and philosophies are said to be equal, we Christians are the only ones being told to sit down and shut up!  But like Jeremiah, God says we can’t do that!  “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”  No dear friends, you cannot ignore God’s Word!  He makes it clear, that there is no other way to please God accept through Christ Jesus!  There is a way that seems right to a society but in the end it only leads to death.  Thus says the Lord, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” [John 14:6]  “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”” [Matt. 10:37] 

The truth is friends, in a society that continuously teaches personal gain and material riches, we are to proclaim another message, “Jesus is the only way to wholeness!”  In a society that advances the message, “If it makes you feel good, just do it!” we proclaim instead, “Seek the Lord while He may be found!”  Even in many churches today, this message of extreme tolerance and acceptance like in the day of Jeremiah has replaced the Law and Gospel message of God.  Itchy ears long to hear that their walk with God will be an easy and happy road; they don’t want to hear about sacrifice and pain; they don’t want to hear that they must die to live.  When things go wrong they blame God, and then quickly begin shopping for a new message that will satisfy their greedy hearts and bring them peace.  But what kind of peace do they really want?  Do they want worldly peace or heavenly peace?  Concerning peace here, Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.” [Matt. 10:34-36] 

Dear friends, these Words of Jesus are Words of peace.  Jesus gives them to us so that we will have peace, but to hear them we must receive them by faith.  We must by faith die to what we want and receive what God desires to give to us.  And what is He giving?  Peace!  It’s a wholeness that is always centered in Christ’s faithfulness to provide for everything we need, therefore it is a spiritual peace.  The peace He gives is completely opposite of the kind of peace the world wants from Him and you.  Listen to His voice speaking to your heart: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

CONCLUSION:  Friends let’s not walk in worry and fear.  Let’s not worry about lost relationships if we don’t endorse someone’s behavior.  Instead let’s simply follow our Lord wherever He leads.  Sometimes the road will be easy and sometimes it will be hard, but always Jesus will be walking right beside us.  And now, may that true peace of God, a wholeness which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and may that wholeness enable you to bear the cross joyfully, following Him where ever He leads you… In Jesus name… AMEN!

What Our Soul Sings

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Rev. Brian Henderson, Pastor-Trinity Lutheran Church-San Diego
Pentecost A, June 19, 2011
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Let us begin this and all things, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!  “Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee, how great Thou art!  How great Thou art!”  What wonderful words we just finished singing!  It is the very song of our souls, but not because we chose to sing these words, but because we must.  It’s the song that our new “baptismal nature” was created to sing; it’s a song that only a Christian can sing.  It’s the song of our soul!  But it wasn’t always that way.  You see, there’s another song we can easily get caught up in; it’s a song of a sinful nature that sings about itself; “Then sings my soul, I live to satisfy me; how great I am!  How great I am!”

Without the work of God we would be lost in that sinful song that celebrates the desires and accomplishments of self; we would be caught up in the pursuit of knowledge and accomplishments simply to satisfy our own pride and desire to grow greater and stronger!  So, you could say that there is a battle going on within our own souls over which song will be sung loudest and longest.  But that’s why you are here today; you’ve come here to feed your new nature; a nature that was raised in baptism after your old nature was put to death.  It’s why you gather to hear God’s Word proclaimed, remember the gift He gave you in your baptism, and be feed His Holy Supper of forgiveness.  We need these gifts of God because they are the very things that protect and strengthen our new nature.  But this struggle of putting to death one nature and raising up and strengthening another was not always our condition.

In our Old Testament lesson we are reminded that there was a time that we were created in the image of God; after His own likeness.  What must that have been like?  Well let’s look at those Words and see!  “Then God said, “Let “US” make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness.””

What we learn from those Words is that God speaks to Himself; not in the way you and I might do, as we are trying to think through a problem; and He isn’t speaking to an audience, because remember as of yet, there was no human kind to speak to.  No God is speaking in a plural tense because God is one being, One God, but three persons.  And here is something else to remember, the very fact that He speaks to Himself amongst the three persons proves that these persons are real within the being of the One True God, and that they are relational.  They relate to one another in truth, power, and love, equally and without division!  They rule all of creation as one God, with one heart and one mind!  But there’s more to learn, because God continues speaking in our Old Testament Lesson; He speaks His intention.  Listen: “And let (the men) have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” [Gen. 1:26]

After God created all things and saw that they were good, He blessed man and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion!”  And for a short while, God our creator walked with man in the cool of the day.  We spoke with our creator as a friend, no more than that, we spoke with Him in love, because we were created to be in a relationship of love and truth with Him, just as His one being of Almighty God relates within the Godhead of three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!  But something happened; something that certainly was not a shock or surprise to God, but it was to the first men, Adam and Eve; sin happened and it happened quickly with immediate and devastating consequences.  Adam and Eve chose knowledge that God forbid them.  They chose knowledge over an eternal relationship of love and trust with their creator.  And because of that decision, gone forever was the image of God within the only creature that was created to be like God!  And now, forever the song of the souls of all sinful men and women would be about regaining that lost image of God; we can’t help but sing about our former greatness because it exists within our hearts like a giant whole; it’s a void and a vacuum that was once filled by God Himself!

So we try to fill that whole with everything within this created world.  We try to recreate our relationship of intimacy, love and truth with other people, and they fail us.  We try use mind altering substances that lie to our psyches, but those leave us worse than we were without them.  We search and search for meaning within us and our sinful world, but nothing fills the void!  But then we hear the powerful Words of Peter’s sermon in our second reading (Acts 2:14a-22-36) and we see that God has created a way back to a relationship of love and trust with Him; a way that is outside of ourselves.  Listen: “I saw the Lord always before me, for He is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope.  For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.  You have made known to me the paths of life; your will make me full of gladness with your presence.” [vs. 25-28]

In these blessed Words of scripture, we discover that God has not left us alone; He still wants to relate to us as He relates within Himself.  He still desires a relationship of love and trust with us.  He has never left us and He will not abandon us; even the death of our sinful flesh can’t separate us from His love.  But how; how is this to be?  Well, in order to answer this question, we must first understand that while this prophecy speaks to sinful men it is ultimately about God Himself; specifically it is about the Son of God, Jesus Christ who took on our own flesh to be our champion, redeemer and savior.  It is about a God who came to us and took our sins upon Himself so that He could pay the penalty for our sins; so that we will no longer be separated from a God of love and truth; so that the giant whole in our souls can be filled with what they were created to filled with, the presence of God!

This then is God’s way of recovering a relationship of love and trust that both of us lost.  Through His Son, Jesus Christ God entered into our reality and made all things new for all who will receive and believe in His Work.  But believing is impossible for a soul that simply wants to sing about its own greatness.  It’s impossible to believe in a God who we cannot see or walk with in the cool of the day.  It’s impossible unless God makes a way to believe.  And make a way He does.  How does He make this believing possible?  He does it by the power of the Holy Spirit and the means that the Father of all creation choses.  He does it with His Word and Sacraments!

In these means of Word and Sacrament, God the Father brings to us a message from His very heart, the heart of one God in three persons.  The message is the gospel; a gospel that promises you that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”  This message is given by the Father and it is about what His Son did to save you and the world, and it is empowered by His Holy Spirit who opens the eyes of your heart with faith so that you will believe that through His Son He has won you back and brought you once again into a relationship of love and trust.  Through His means of grace, God is daily proving to you the truthfulness of this message, as you continue to hear it, trust it, and seek to know His will!

And now, because you are using these means that God chooses, He is beginning to change you.  Your old identity that seeks to find its own satisfaction and fulfillment is being put to death just as God the Son died for you.  And in its place, God has raised up and is growing your new nature, your baptismal nature that seeks to know more love and truth from its creator; a nature that seeks to gain honor for God and not for itself.  It is this nature alone that believes that all truth originates from God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; one being, One God but three persons!  And as this new nature grows stronger you begin to become humble like the Son of God.  You begin to live to do the will of the Father.  As your new nature grows, you begin to become more like the Holy Spirit, working to honor the Father by pointing to the work and presence of God the Son, Jesus Christ!  But to whom are you pointing out Christ to?  To those who have not yet returned to their Creator God!  You are pointing to those who still have not been recreated!

In our gospel lesson (Matt. 28:16-20) Jesus gave a mandate and the means for each of us to be missionaries.  Each of us are simply to go out into our lives to whoever we encounter and share God’s desire to have them return to Him by faith, through the completed work of Jesus Christ!  Someone once asked me if Jesus is my personal Savior, and the answer I gave him confused him.  I said, “No, I like to share Him!”  You see, God didn’t recreate us in baptism to be a private Christian.  We were created to have a relationship of love and truth with Him and to share that relationship with others.  “We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, god’s own people, that we may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” [1 Pet. 2:9]  In other words, we are members of the body of Jesus Christ, a body that is living, growing, fruitful and always following the model of the Holy Spirit, by pointing to Jesus Christ and proclaiming His work for us and for our neighbors.

Dear friends, as the body of the Son of God, Jesus Christ our blessed heart and head, we are sent out to be His witnesses throughout the world to all people, all ethnic groups, and in all times until He comes again!  We are to simply do what we have been created to do… we are to sing His praises to all who will hear.  And as we sing to Him in our own witness, the Holy Spirit uses God’s means of Word and Sacrament to convert them as well and turn their hearts and minds toward a Triune God who enables them and us together to do good works of love and continue to turn even more people lost in sin towards their loving God!  In this way, God puts us back on track; He returns us to our original mandate to be fruitful and have dominion over the earth.  What is that dominion?  Building the kingdom of God by letting God work through us!  Eden is restored; or relationship of trust and love with our creator is returned to us and we are asked to spread this very thing throughout the face of the earth!  “Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, how great Thou art!  How great Thou art!”   In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN!

What is this Living Water?

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Rev. Brian Henderson, Pastor-Trinity Lutheran Church-San Diego
Pentecost A, June 12, 2011
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Why does the church set aside and remember the Pentecost experience, which is so beautifully presented in all three of our readings?  Is it done to create in all converted Christians a desire to speak in strange tongues?  Is it set aside to show that there are everyday Christians and then there are super Christians who have these miraculous gifts of the Spirit?  Maybe we remember this day to remind us how far the church has fallen from the position that God desires us to be in?  Well, the answer to all three of these questions is a resounding “No!”  The true reason for remembering the  Pentecost experience can be found in our gospel reading in Jesus own Words.  Listen: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” [Jn 7:37b, 38]  Let’s look at these Words a little closer and allow God to teach us what we are to remember  during these next 23 weeks of Pentecost; a period where we are invited to meditate on the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, in our church, and in our community!

What we learn first is that if any of us are ever to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, we must first perceive a need for Him; we must have a thirst for His presence and His power!  How are we to be given such a thirst?  Through the power of God’s Word, specifically His Law that shows us how much we need His forgiving love!  This is a forgiveness that can never be earned or achieved through our own efforts.  So many preachers today are simply leading their congregations deeper into thirst by telling them what they need to do, in order to know happiness, peace, and success.  But telling someone what they need to do doesn’t ever give them the ability to do it!  And to this, along comes Jesus, and He comes with a teaching that is completely different; He actually does offer a way to quench their spiritual thirst; a way to now God’s loving and kind heart!  And where does He send them to find a thirst-quenching drink?  To Himself that’s where!

Jesus is telling us that all other sermons that preachers preach are simply the fancies of a sinful mind.  He is telling us that there really is no way to be right with God except by coming to Him!  Except by coming to Jesus through faith, there really is no way to bring peace to a conscience that knows it daily sins against God!  Our sinful consciences long for one thing more than anything else; they long to hear, “Your sin is forgiven!”  When we can hear these Words and believe them then and only then will our spiritual thirst be quenched! 

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.”  In these words Jesus is telling us that outside of His message of gospel peace we will not find even one single drop of comfort, comfort that can satisfy our thirst!  Outside of this invitation to come to Him and drink and rest there is only more thristing and tormenting of our terrified conscience; a conscience that is really dying of thirst! 

But what happens after we drink?  What happens after we simply receive the forgiveness of Jesus Christ?  Well Jesus says that “Whoever believes in Him, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”  You see, because you have turned to Jesus, He assures you that as long as you keep coming to Him and His Words of life, you will have streams of living water coming out of you!  He is assuring you that because you come to Him, He will equip you to not only have your thirst quenched but to also help bring others to the same living water so that they too can be satisfied!  And now we are beginning to see the true miracle of Pentecost!  Through the Living Word of God, Jesus is promising you that not only will He satisfy your own thirst, but He will use you to help satisfy the thirst for forgiveness that others have!  And all of this is done through the Word of God, through the gospel!  The longer the gospel is preached and shared, the more effectively it goes out satisfying your thirst and the thirst of others.

How can simply sharing God’s Word and forgiveness of sins do all of this?  Because behind the Word is the power of the Holy Spirit!  When Jesus was speaking these Word’s the Holy Spirit hadn’t yet been poured out on all those who believed in Him.  Certainly the Holy Spirit was present, but His power to build the church and propel it out into a sinful world hadn’t yet been demonstrated.  But make no mistake, where God’s Word is there is also His power; but it is His power, and we must remember that He uses it when, where, and how He determines.  As Jesus spoke that day, the people whose hearts were prepared by the Holy Spirit began to experience a great quenching of their spiritual thirst!  And as we are listening this morning, our thirst for God’s forgiveness is also being quenched!  But how can this great work of quenching spiritual thirst, of forgiving sins be continued in a mighty way throughout history and across the entire face of the earth?  Only through the power of God’s Holy Spirit.  And that is the reason the great day of Pentecost is worth remembering and observing!

In our reading from Acts [2:1-21], we can make a couple of noteworthy observations.  First we see that everyone was equally filled with the Holy Spirit.  That means men, women, and children; each was equally filled and equipped for the task that was given to them.  There is no need for one to desire the gifts of the other; they were equal.  So the prayer of Moses in our Old Testament reading, that asked “that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit on them” was answered! [Numbers 11:29]   Second, we see that the Spirit gave them utterance, or maybe a better way to say this is that the Spirit gave them the Words they were to speak!  And now the real question is not how did they speak, but what did they speak! 

You see, if you let your focus be only on the fact that they were able to speak in foreign tongues, well  then you are missing the whole desire and will of God!  And what is the will and desire of God?  That all sinful men and women would repent, turn to Jesus Christ and be saved!  That all of us would come to Jesus and drink of His life giving waters!  That was the message that each one of the disciples were speaking that day and that is the message that God would have you share with your neighbors within this very community as He gives you the opportunity.  And how are you to speak and what are you to say?  Should you have some scripture memorized?  What if your nervous; what if, what if, what if!

You see, if you let your worries and fears get in the way, then you are once again taking the focus off of the giver of the gift and looking at what kind of gift you want.  Remember, God fills each of us equally.  The Spirit fills every single believer in the church and He uses every one of us according to His desire not ours.  We must simply rest in the fact that the day of Pentecost raised each of us to the same level.  Just as the Holy Spirit loosened the tongues of the disciples to praise God in the way He desired on that day, so He does for us today!  Like them, our hearts shall overflow with grace and power, and our tongues will speak of that grace and power!  Each of us have been equipped by the same Spirit to confess our faith, to pray and praise!  This is our testimony to Christ’s thirst quenching and life giving waters!

So why don’t you and I have the ability like the early disciples to speak in strange tongues?  Well I suppose it’s simply because the Holy Spirit doesn’t need us to!  Back then, He determined that great signs and wonders were needed to propel the church throughout the world, all so that everyone who was dying of spiritual thirst could be quenched!  I would say that He’s done a pretty good job of growing the church.  Can you think of a single country where Jesus has not been preached?  I can’t!  But just because the Holy Spirit has changed the external way He works, doesn’t mean that He isn’t working!

In Holy Baptism, where you received the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, you too have given the gift of faith so that you can understand the teachings of Jesus, teachings that have been handed down to you by the Apostles through the work of that same Spirit.  By the Holy Spirit, you’ve been given faith that clings to the promises of Jesus; promises, which assure you that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.  By the same Spirit you are given boldness to confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the One who was crucified carrying the burden of your sins and the sins of your neighbor!  You have been given boldness to declare the He is the One who rose again, bringing you to life again with Him.  By this faith which is yours from the Holy Spirit, you receive the very body and blood of Jesus Christ-a gift that also gives you forgiveness for all of your sins and the strengthening of your faith.  This is your testimony!  This is the life giving water that Jesus gave first to you and it is the very thing He desires to give to your neighbor through you!  When each of us gathers to hear the Word and receive the sacraments we are being given the power of the Holy Spirit to go out and share these things.  And when we do this, we see the body of Christ growing; this is the true miracle of Pentecost!  It is a symphony of confession, testimony, prayer and praise that rises up to the Holy throne of Jesus Christ in every language across this sinful world.  This is the desire and will of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and it is the very mission that He has equipped you for!  May God continue to do His Pentecost work within each of our hearts by the power of His Holy Spirit, and I ask this in Jesus name… AMEN!