Pentecost 12 “Foundation”
August 23rd, 2020 Matthew 16:16
May you receive from God the good you have not deserved, not get the bad you have, and may you have peace with God through the blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Grace, mercy, and peace. Amen.
Why Are We Here?
Have you ever asked yourself the question on a Sunday morning “why are we here?” When someone asks you the question of why you go, or still go to church, what do you say? “Grandma always came.” “Trinity closed down” “It’s the closest church to my camp” It’s just what we do” “Need to socialize” “Love the pastor or the preaching” or “I just came one day and never stopped.”
We can so easily lose sight of the reason for being here. We wonder off and get lost in what we are really doing here. Isaiah 53:6 “We all like sheep have gone astray.” That’s true following God’s Laws for our lives and true when it comes to gathering together each week in this building.
Have you ever heard it said, “The Church is not the building – it is the people”? If this building burned down tonight, The Church here would not cease to exist. The church would continue to come together and gather. It would keep going because the church is the people who gather.
Each of us is a living stone, says St. Peter (1 Peter 2:5), who Christ gathers and uses to build His church with. Christ is the builder and we are the blocks. We have a good number of builders here. What happens if the foundation of a building is not solid? What happens to the bricks? What happens to the whole structure? (It sinks, shifts, crumbles, falls apart). The same is true for the church. The same is true for us right here. If our foundation for being here is not solid, we fall apart.
So, if our reason for being here AND our Foundation is the same thing, what is it? What is our reason for being here and what is our foundation?
To discover what has become our foundation, what is it we give our first fruits of our time in our day to? To what do we give the first fruits of our money? What do we prioritize? What do we give our very lives to?
Potlucks? Constitution Committee? Listening to music? Earning “prayer” favours from God by coming?
Are we here to fight each other? Are we here to walk away when things do not go our way? A misconception about The Reformation is that Luther just walked away from the Catholic Church. Luther did not ever want to walk away. He wanted to stay and help fix, guide, and heal the damage that had taken place in the Church. He wanted to refocus the people on their true foundation.
Our Foundation is, and always will be, the very thing which Peter spoke to Jesus; the confession that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16).
That truth grounds us. That truth has so many huge implications. That truth which is the cause for our existence, why we gather, and the reason behind everything that we do here at the church and in our lives.
We are not founded on some generic idea of “god.” We are not founded on some wishy-washy concept of a random “spirit.” We do not ground ourselves in the sayings of some random teacher.
We are founded on the truth about THE one God we learn about in the Scriptures from God and as we confessed them just now in our Creed. Father Son and Holy Spirit: who God is, what He does, and what He has done.
The foundation of Jesus Christ who died for you and me to forgive our sins and make us holy. And as the Large Catechism says, “without whose ongoing forgiveness we would be lost.”
We are here to receive His one-time-for-all sacrifice for us on the cross given to us through His Word preached and His Sacraments administered.
We are here to be living sacrifices to God as we worship Him with hymns, psalms, and in our prayers of thanks. We are not here to entertain ourselves but to give our loving actions to God.
We are here to be living sacrifices by living out our faith in Him in love to Him and by loving and supporting our neighbour. Our neighbour being those He created, who He loves and who He wants us to love too. His people in this church, and all those people out there who are not.
We are living sacrifices by putting each other’s needs above our own. By giving our time, and money, and attention to each of these things and all of these people.
It is not about us. It is about Him and our neighbour.
We Are Here
We are not all here in the foundation that we all agree on wearing masks or not.
We are not here because we are all Liberals or because we are all Conservatives or that we have the same political convictions.
We are not here on the foundation that we liked Pastor Brockup, Kobernic, Pope Francis (kidding!), Pastor James, or this new guy who hasn’t messed up too bad yet.
We are here, as we are, gathered by the Holy Spirit from very different walks of life and with different gifts to share, being transformed by God’s message of love for us in the Gospel – being saved by Christ’s forgiveness for our sin.
One day, when our race is finished, our work is done, because sin has taken our body to its knees, we will live-on and join the Church Triumphant in Heaven and see our God face to face. We will see face-to-face the One we have been focused on all along.
There, we will always be with our strong foundation, Jesus Christ.
May that peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, may it guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour. Amen.