THE 6TH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY AD 2022
TRINITY EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
REV. KURT E. REINHARDT
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
1 Corinthians 15:12-20 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Luke 6:17-26 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
“Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
Someone to turn things around. Yes, whether its the people who’ve choked up the streets of downtown Ottawa, those who've blockaded the borders at Windsor or out in Alberta or simple every day folks like you and me, there’s an awful lot of people looking for someone to turn things around these days. The Conservative party has decided that that person was not Mr. O’Toole and so they are looking for someone else. Our exasperated PM, Mr. Trudeau, expressed his sympathy with the frustration that we are all feeling these days, but he doesn’t seem to be that someone either.
Someone to turn things around. Yes, no matter what side of the debates we have going on these days, that you happen to be on, we’re all looking for someone to turn things around. The past two years, have without question had a lot more that needed to be turned around than those that went before it, but as hard as they’ve been in so many ways, there was plenty of trouble to go around before them and there will be plenty of trouble to go around after they have drifted away into the pages of history. Trouble, yes, in this broken world with sinful people like you and me living in it there will always be plenty of trouble that needs turning around.
Most of us know this on a personal level, just as we’ve been learning it on a national and even global level over the last two years. Just as we’ve had the pandemic to deal with as a nation and world, we’ve all known some kind of health trouble, either of our own, or of those that we know and love to deal with on a personal level. Just as we’ve had trouble seeing eye to eye on any number of issues as a nation and world, we’ve all known some kind of family trouble, either with spouses, kids, or parents to deal with on a personal level. Just as our nation and world has suffered its griefs and sorrows, so have we on a personal level had to bear our own heartbreak as death has struck close to home.
Someone to turn things around. Yes, in this broken world, with people like you and me living in it, where sin, death and hell are ever messing up God’s beautiful creation and bringing suffering, trial and sorrow into our lives, we are ever looking for someone to turn things around. Yes, there’s plenty that needs turning around on the outside, but that compares little, doesn’t it, to what needs to be turned around on the inside. All that’s on the outside after all is only there because of what’s going on on the inside of each and every one of us. No, there wouldn’t be all this mess on a national or global level, or even closer to home, in our family or personal lives, if it wasn’t for the mess going on in my heart and yours.
Someone to turn things around. Yes, these last few years have left no question about the fact, that we need someone to turn things around, and no, it’s not Mr. Trudeau or whoever the Conservatives might choose to be their next leader, and it’s certainly not me and it’s certainly not you. Yes, we’ve made the mess and so should clean it up, but since we’ve not only made the mess, but are the cause of it as well, that’s just not going to happen. As we have shown time and again, whenever messed up sinful people like you and me set our hand to trying to turn things around, we just make more of a mess of the mess. No, you and I cannot take the woes of sinful life and turn them into the blessedness of God. Ever since our first parents trashed paradise, heaven on earth is simply out of our reach.
Someone to turn things around. Yes, we poor sinners need someone to turn things around. The good news is that that Someone has come down from heaven to stand among us today. As the only begotten Son of God, He is the blessed One, who is blessed of His Father from eternity, with the Father’s own blessedness. As the sinless Son of the Virgin Mary, He is the only man who can turn the mess of sin around, because He didn’t make any of it and was the cause of none of it. He is the Blessed One of the Father who came down from heaven to take on all the woes of sin and suffer and die in them for us, so that He might pour out the blessedness of the Father on us. On the cross He became the man of woe so that you might be blessed children of the Father through your baptism into Him.
The Lord Jesus stands before you in His Word today, beloved, to speak His blessedness into all the troubles and trials of your heart, your life, your land and world. He and He alone is the one who can and does turn it all around. As He stands among you in this quiet moment, hear Him as He proclaims and bestows His blessedness upon you in each and every one of the trials and troubles of your life. Hear Him as He reassures you, “I am the blessed one who turns things around. In me now and in eternity, I am turning and will turn all these things around for you. In me the woes of your sinful life are being and will be turned around into the blessings of My Father.”
The Lord Jesus and the Lord Jesus alone, is the only one who can turn things around for you, beloved, and so repent of looking to any one else including yourselves and turn your eyes to Him and Him alone today as He comes to you in His flesh and blood. Sing out to Him, “Truly blest is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” as He comes to you with the bread and wine today and know that He is the truly blest One who comes to share His blessedness with you that you might be blessed with Him forever in the joys of paradise. Receive the blessed One of the Father today in His flesh and blood and in all that you are going through know that you are truly blessed in Him.
Someone to turn things around. Yes, that’s what you have in Jesus, beloved, He is with you in all your trials and troubles, look on His wounds in the midst of them and know that He is turning and will turn them all around for you now and forever. Amen.