Sunday, July 19, 2020

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Posted by Augustana Lutheran Church on Sunday, July 19, 2020
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 11A) July 19, 2020 Text: Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43 It is not the main business of the Church to root out hypocrites and manifest sinners from her midst. Nor is it the main business of the Church to make the world in which we live pure or perfect. There is a time for Church discipline, and to be sure, the Church must oppose false doctrine. So also we should love and serve our neighbor and make his life better as we are able. But this is not the main business of the Church. The main business of the Church is to spread the Seed of God’s Word through the preaching and nurture that Seed as it grows up into faithful and fruit bearing Christians. So the primary work of the Church is what we are doing here: Receiving. Word and Sacrament. It is Scripture, preaching, Baptism, Absolution, and Supper. And it is prayer; prayer for ourselves, prayer for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus, prayer for all people according to their needs. It is not to build heaven on earth. It is not to purify or perfect this world. The Church is in the business of the forgiveness of sins. The Church is in the business of caring for forgiven sinners. Our Lord’s parable this morning is very much related to what we heard from Him last week in the Parable of the Sower. You’ll remember that Jesus Himself is the Sower. The Seed is God’s Word, and it is good Seed, always accomplishing what our Lord desires, even when, in His mercy, He casts it about recklessly. In that parable, you are the soil, and it is the good Seed that makes the bad soil (the path, the rocky and thorny ground) good. In our parable this morning, the field is the world. Jesus sows His Seed in all the world. The preaching goes out to all the world, liberally and recklessly, yes, even to the world that will not receive the Seed but will reject it outright. The Lord sows His Seed, and it grows up into sons of the Kingdom. But His enemy, the evil one, the devil, comes along and sows bad seed among the good, and these grow up into sons of the evil one. The bad seed is every word that casts doubt upon God’s Word. It is false doctrine. It is political correctness and the stuff in which the media and academia and Hollywood specialize. It is the word of man, human reason, human emotion, anxiety, depression. It is the whispered hiss of the serpent that God is holding out on you, that God’s giving His all in the Person of His Son on the cross cannot possibly be for you, could not possibly have won the victory over your sin and death, and that anyway, you’d be better off being your own god, knowing good and evil for yourself. That seed the devil casts just as liberally and recklessly, and that seed is a weed. It takes root and thrives in nearly every kind of soil. And it chokes out the good Seed, chokes out the wheat that has been sown by the Lord. Now, Christians think (and pastors especially are the very worst about this) that the good Seed of God’s Word can’t make it in the field unless we help it along. “Lord, do You want us to go and gather the weeds, root out those knuckleheads and hypocrites that are ruining Your Church, vote out those shysters who are ruining the American experiment, take some action that will help Your Seed along? Because there is no way the Seed is going to work by itself. Not in this environment. Lord, You really need us. We don’t want to be rude, but Your plan really isn’t going to work. We have people that specialize in making the Word of the Lord grow. Let us handle it, Lord.” And do you know what the Lord of the harvest says to His overzealous pastors and Christians? “No!” He says, “No!” “No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn” (Matt. 13:29-30; ESV). Why must the weeds and the wheat grow together in the field of the world and even in the Church until the harvest, which is to say, Judgment Day? Because you and I don’t know who is a weed and who is wheat. We think we do, but we don’t. We say to ourselves, or maybe even to others, “Look at that woman over there. If these other Christians knew who she was and what she’d done, that she is a sinner, they wouldn’t allow her here.” “Look at that man over there. See how he struts around like he owns the place. Everyone thinks he’s such a good Christian, but he can’t be, the arrogant so and so.” And what you’ve done when you go weeding your way around the field is you’ve set yourself up as judge of who is weed and who is wheat. But you can’t know. Only God can see into another’s heart. You think you can, but you can’t. Repent. The Church of God, the wheat of the field, is invisible. It is invisible because faith is invisible. There are visible marks of the Church, namely, the things we said are the Church’s business: Scripture, preaching, Baptism, Absolution, the Supper, and prayer. So also there is the Communion of saints, the mutual conversation and consolation of the brethren, and the holy cross. We can know by the marks where the Church is, but we cannot know by her attendance, or even by her membership rolls, who is in it. For the Church is all believers in Christ. Thank God, a 7 year old child knows this (SA III XII), the Church is not a building or a body of voting members or a denomination. It is the congregation of those who believe in Jesus Christ. It is a congregation of sinners, like that woman, that man, you, who are forgiven, set free from sin and guilt and shame, who will be gathered into the Lord’s barn by His grace on the Last Day, when He raises you from the dead. You’re already in it now, by Baptism, by faith. You’ll see that this is the reality on that Day. If you go weeding the field now, several disastrous outcomes may happen: You might pick a weed that is really wheat, that you did not recognize as wheat, and so cast aside one of these precious little ones who believe in Christ. You might pick a weed that by God’s grace will become wheat in the end, through the preaching of the Gospel. And some other overzealous Christian or pastor may just come along and pick you and toss you aside for the burn pile of hell. God forbid it. The reality is, much of the time the wheat looks like weeds. Christians act according to their sinful nature. And much of the time, weeds look like wheat. Non-Christians do an awful lot of good stuff in the world. I’m no farmer, but I do know there is a particularly deceptive weed called darnel that looks just like wheat until the time of harvest. These are probably the tares Jesus is talking about. How can you tell the two apart? A farmer might be able to, but the rest of us can’t. Even if we grew up on the Palouse. Jesus knows the difference between His wheat and the weeds, but we don’t. Even if we grew up in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Your job is not to root out all the bad players in the Church or in the world or even in politics. Your job is to let Jesus be the Lord. Receive the good things He gives here in His Church, the fruits of His cross, the triumph of His resurrection, and love and serve your neighbor. Tell others about Jesus and let the good Seed do its work. Support the Church and the ministry with your prayers and offerings. And sure, vote according to the best of your God-given wisdom and give some money to feed the hungry. But more than anything else, just receive. Receive what God gives. Receive Jesus as He comes to you here in His Word. Beloved, the harvest is not yet. “The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Ps. 145:8). He is patient, so that weeds may become wheat by the working of His Word. Judgment Day is coming, but at a time known only to God. In the meantime, there will be hypocrites and sinners, politicians and terrorists. The Lord knows what He is doing. He does not need your help. God is accomplishing His purposes in ways you could not begin to comprehend. Repent and wait upon the Lord. Trust Him. He’s got it all figured out for your good. And the proof is Jesus on the cross and in the Supper. Christ crucified is the ultimate evil, the ultimate miscarriage of justice, accomplishing your ultimate good, your eternal salvation. The Supper is the distribution of the body and blood of Jesus, crucified for you, for the forgiveness of your sins, now risen from the dead and giving you life. The Seed of the Word has been planted and grown into faith. You are wheat. The Supper nourishes you and keeps you alive in a world full of weeds. Pray for the harvest. Pray, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come quickly.” But so also pray for workers for the harvest field, that more Seed of God’s Word may be sown, more preaching, more bad soil made good, more weeds made into wheat. And know what will finally happen when the harvest comes. The weeds will be gathered together and thrown into the fire, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. There is a hell. It is a real place where those who finally reject Jesus really go for all eternity. That is the warning. But the wheat will be gathered into the Lord’s barn to live forever with Him. The righteous, which is to say, you who have received Jesus’ righteousness as your own by faith, will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of your Father. The main business of the Church is not to sort the weeds and wheat before the time. That job belongs to the holy angels on that Day. The main business of the Church is to preach. The main business of the Church is to hear the preaching, be forgiven, and live, in Christ, forever. Your sins are forgiven. You shall not die, but live. The Lord of the harvest declares it so. His Word does what it says. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

6th Sunday after Pentecost

Posted by Augustana Lutheran Church on Sunday, July 12, 2020



Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 10A)
July 12, 2020
Text: Matt. 13:1-9, 18-23
            The Word of God is powerful to do what it says.  God said, “Let there be light” (Gen. 1:3; ESV), and there was light.  God spoke creation into existence out of nothing.  The firmament, the dry land and the seas, vegetation, sea creatures and birds of the heavens, livestock and creeping things and beasts of the field, and then His crowning achievement, man, to be the recipient of all that He had created, to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, subdue it and have dominion over it.  God spoke, and so it was done.  To this day, creation works, and is sustained, and children are born, because God spoke it so in Genesis 1.
            And as it is in the matter of creation, so it is in the matter of salvation.  God spoke His Son into the ear and womb of the Virgin for us men and for our salvation.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).  Jesus is the Word of our Father, the revelation of God as our God, gracious and merciful toward sinners, forgiving our sins and granting us life.  Jesus spoke.  He preached.  He taught.  He healed and cleansed by speaking it so.  Wind and wave, the very demons were subject to His Word.  He spoke as they crucified Him: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  And so the forgiveness of sins flows to sinners from that very place.  He spoke from the cross, having suffered all in payment for our sins: “It is finished” (John 19:30), and so it was, our atonement complete.  Now He is risen, as He said.  And how is His saving work given to men?  Preaching!  God’s speaking!  The Word!  Your sins are forgiven, you are told in Scripture and sermon and Absolution, and so they are!  You belong to God as His own child, for He speaks it so, names you with His Name, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” in Baptism.  And then, here is Jesus, for you, as He says: “This is my body… This is my blood… given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”  He speaks, and so it is.  It is simply what we read from the Prophet Isaiah this morning concerning the Word: “it shall not return to me empty” says the LORD, “but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Is. 55:11). 
            Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17).  The Word, the Word, the Word.  That is how God does it.  That is how He brings us to faith in Christ, so that we receive all the benefits of our Lord’s saving work in His death and resurrection.  And the Word is mighty to do it.  That is why we preach.  That is why you confess Jesus and speak His Word in your daily life and vocation.  And there is the Promise that keeps us going: It will not return empty.  It will succeed.  Period.  Exclamation point! 
            Then why do so many hear the Word and reject it?  It is a heartbreaking question, and it isn’t theoretical, because every one of us has a real, flesh-and-blood person in mind when we ask it.  Probably several people.  Perhaps many.  People we love.  People to whom we’ve confessed Christ.  Maybe even people we thought believed at one time or another, people who came to Church, but don’t anymore, and don’t seem to have an interest.  People who don’t want to hear it from us.  Maybe children we raised in the faith.  Maybe grandchildren.  A brother.  A sister.  A dear friend.  We know they’ve heard.  And though in every case we’ll let God be their Judge and we’ll confess His great mercy toward them… as far as we are concerned, it appears they have no faith in Jesus.  How do we account for the preaching of this Almighty Word appearing to result in… nothing?  Directly counter to the Promise. 
            The problem is not the Word.  It is the person who hears the Word.  Jesus says the Word is Seed, cast by preaching and by confessing.  We like to see ourselves as the Sower as we go about witnessing, but really, that role belongs only to the Savior.  He is the Sower who goes out to sow.  Yes, we witness, or in a preacher’s case, preach.  But that is still the Savior doing the sowing of His Word.  In this parable, we are the soil into which the Word is sown. 
            Now, Jesus says, there are several types of soil that are not capable of growing a crop of faith, that are hostile to the Seed of the Word.  The first is the path.  The Sower sows on the path, and the birds come and pick off the Seed.  Well, that seems pretty obvious.  The birds are the evil one and his demons.  When a person hears the Word without understanding, the Seed is pretty easy picking for evil spirits.  “God can’t really mean that, can He?”  So they whisper.  “That doesn’t make sense.  That isn’t very loving.  That doesn’t square with reality.  Or science!  You know better than that.”  There are any number of ways they do it, but as the Seed is sown, it bounces off a hard-packed heart and is immediately snatched up by the devil and his lackeys.  These are the folks who hear the Word and simply reject it.
            Then there is the rocky soil.  These receive the Word at first with joy.  Jesus, love, life, wonderful things!  But there is a hardness underneath the soil.  No room for deep roots.  So faith comes for a time, while everything is joyful and easy.  But then things get hard.  They always do for Christians.  Your Lord promises it.  Personal struggles and suffering in fallen creation and as the devil attacks.  Persecution for the faith on the part of the world.  The person who wants only a happy, feel-good religion (which describes so much of American Christianity), will shrivel up and die when the going gets tough.  They’ll compromise with the world.  Always.  They’ll sell-out.  And before you know it, there will be no crop, no faith.  If anything, just pious, sentimental religiosity.  But not the Jesus of the cross. 
            Then, of course, there is the Seed sown among thorns.  The Word is choked out by the stuff of this life, worldly cares, the deceitfulness of riches.  This is where Christianity becomes compartmentalized in a person’s life.  Jesus gets only His little slice of time and attention, and that slice is ever dwindling.  “I have to concentrate on my job.  I have my weekend get-aways and vacations.  I work so hard, I need my rest and relaxation, and that can’t include Jesus and His Sunday morning demands.  I’ll get to Jesus later, when I’m not so busy.”  I’ve even heard, so many times it would shock you, family named as the thing that prevents attendance at Divine Service and reception of Jesus’ gifts: “Oh, Pastor, we’d love to come to Church more, but you know, Sunday morning is our only chance to enjoy time together as a family.”  Now, these are all good gifts of God to be enjoyed and tended: Jobs, vacations, family.  But they’ve crowded out Jesus and His Word.  They’ve become idols.  And so they’ve become a curse.  Thorns… as in thorns and thistles and the sweat of the brow!
            But why is the Sower so reckless as to sow on all those inhospitable soils in the first place?  Shouldn’t He sow only into the well-cultivated and prepared soil?  This brings two very important truths to light.  First, the prodigal grace of God.  He’ll sow the Seed of His Word anywhere and everywhere!  Because He does not desire the death of the sinner, but that the sinner turn from his wicked way and live (Ez. 33:11).  He desires all to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4).  Second, where in the world are you going to find good soil apart from and before the Sower’s sowing of the Word?  Do you understand?  You aren’t a believer because you were already good soil when Jesus came across you.  You are a believer because Jesus came along, cast His Seed on the beaten and compacted, rocky, thorny soil of your mind and heart, and the Word transformed you.  By grace.  Don’t be such a semi-Pelagian as to think you prepared yourself by your good works and disposition to receive God’s gracious Word, and so come to faith.  No, apart from the Word, you are every one of those other soils.  The other soils aren’t just other people.  That’s you apart from the Word.  Repent of your hardness of heart.  Repent of your desire for feel-good religion.  Repent of prioritizing other people and things above Jesus.  That is the Word of the LORD that calls you to such repentance.  Even as the Word is sown, it is doing the plowing, the cultivating, the watering, the fertilizing.  It is the Word that makes the soil into good soil, the Word cast by Jesus, implanted by the Holy Spirit, sinking through the beaten path, roots busting through the stone, choking out the thorns.  If the Sower didn’t sow on the hostile soil, He couldn’t sow at all.  But He does sow, because He loves you and has called you to be His own.
            Why some and not others?  Oh, you turkey.  That is the question, isn’t it?  We’re butting up against the doctrine of Election.  We’re perilously close to looking into things into which we’re not given to look.  The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever” (Deut. 29:29).  Do not venture to look into the hidden things of God.  The question actually is not one for you to answer.  But you do know what is revealed.  And that is this: God does not desire the death of any sinner.  He wants all to be saved.  Jesus died for the sins of all people.  Jesus is risen and lives for all people.  The Gospel is to be preached to all people.  It is the Gospel, the Word of Almighty God, that brings a person to faith in Christ, so that thy receive all the saving benefits of Christ.  And when they believe that Word, God gets all the credit for that.  They didn’t do anything to prepare for it, or to merit it.  Not so much as a decision for Jesus.  To God alone be the glory.  The Holy Spirit has worked faith by His Word.  Just like God alone grows the seeds, so God alone grows faith.  And if that Word is not believed, the blame rests on the unbeliever and the devil, and not on God in any way.  God is not the Author of that evil.  Do not try to solve the logical dilemma.  That has not been revealed to you.  Stick with what Scripture says, and live in the tension.  Let God be God, and you just be His child.  And rejoice that the Word has taken root in you, by grace alone. 
            And trust the Promise in spite of all appearances.  The Word is doing what God sent it to do.  Always.  It is hidden from your eyes, but that doesn’t change the fact of it.  Think again of that person, or those people, on your mind and heart throughout this sermon.  God loves them even more than you do, and He desires their salvation.  Christ died for them!  Christ lives for them!  We are only to view the doctrine of Election through the lens of Christ crucified and risen for sinners.  Only God knows how the Word will accomplish His will for them.  So do not lose heart.  Keep speaking.  Keep confessing.  Keep praying to the only One who can make faith grow.  The Word by which God created all things, the Word by which He redeemed all things, is preached to create faith when and where it pleases God in those who hear the Gospel (AC V).  Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.  God is faithful.  His Seed is sown.  And His Word transforms even the most inhospitable soil into a rich yield.  It can happen, and it does.  Just take yourself, for example.  Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  God has spoken, and the speaking continues to the end of the age.  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.      

                       

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Posted by Augustana Lutheran Church on Sunday, July 5, 2020
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 9A) July 5, 2020 Text: Matt. 11:25-30 Infants, in the care of faithful parents, don’t have a care in the world. Well, they think they do. They cry a lot. They are often ill-content. And judging by their screams, they must think they are suffering tremendously. The reality is, though (and we know it to be true), their cries probably have to do with one of three things: They are hungry, they are tired, or they need a diaper change. Or maybe they’re just gassy. Now, none of this is, in reality, any great suffering, and unbeknownst to the precious little bundles of hysterical joy, good parents know the proper time and manner of administering what are fairly simple and routine solutions. Often these measures are not good enough for Baby, and so the weeping and wailing and gnashing of toothless gums continues, and even becomes contagious to the sleep-deprived parents, who don’t know what else to do for the poor thing. “Gloom, despair, and agony on me,” as the hymn goes. But the reality remains. The infant doesn’t need to scream. Because he is in the care of his parents. He is safe. He is secure. He will be fed. His diaper will be changed. And His parents will rock him and sing him to sleep, and lay him in a warm and comfortable crib, and they will look in on him throughout the night, because he is precious in their sight, and they love him, and they will do anything, even die, to protect him and provide for him. Our Father in heaven does not reveal the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the wise and understanding. That is, the Gospel is not available to human reason by means of logical deduction or empirical investigation. You will not arrive at the Gospel by philosophical speculation or scientific observation. The Father reveals these things to infants. Your English translation says “little children” (Matt. 11:25), and that is fine, but the word, in fact, means a babe in arms. Utterly helpless. Unable to do the simplest of things, like find food, shelter, or clothing, avoid danger, or clean away his own filth. Left to himself, an infant will die! Someone must protect him from that fate, and care for him, and do everything for him. And it is to just such a one that the Father reveals His Son. And the Son grabs up the infant from peril and want and reveals to him the Father who brings the infant into His own embrace, and gives him a family, and a home. This is certainly a biblical proof for infant faith. Of course infants can believe in Jesus. No, they don’t know His Name and they cannot yet rationally comprehend the faith or form the words to confess it. But they know Him and they trust Him, in the same way that a newborn already knows and trusts Mom above all others. Baby looks to Mom for all good, even though he cannot yet form the word Mom, or rationally comprehend who she is, and what she will do for him. So this is why we baptize infants and know and trust that they believe in their Lord, and that faith will grow in understanding and ability to confess as we raise the child in the faith. But that is not primarily what Jesus is getting at with the word “infant.” He is inviting you to be an infant. He is inviting you to become just like the babe in arms. Now, this is not to say, of course, that you don’t grow in faith and in understanding, and in love toward God and your neighbor, nor is it to say that you don’t live and work in your God-given vocations. But it is to say that you always retain that basic posture of dependence on God for all things. Put away your own wisdom and understanding. In matters of salvation, they will fail you every time. There is a verse we all love from Proverbs about that, isn’t there? “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5; ESV). We think we’re so wise. We think we have it all figured out. Especially in the 21st Century. We’re so much smarter than those who came before us. They were ignorant, but we know! And we can do anything we want if we put our mind to it. There is no limit to human wisdom and ingenuity. But it’s so arrogant, and we are so deceived. How is enlightened human wisdom and understanding working out these days in light of our present circumstances? This is one reason God allows pandemics and civil unrest: to cast down our idols and frustrate our Babel building. If you think you are wise, if you believe you can do it yourself, you’re betting on the wrong horse. If you don’t mind my saying so (and even if you do), you make a pretty miserable god. Repent of that. Be who Jesus invites you to be, who God has created you to be. A child of the heavenly Father, baptized into Christ. A helpless infant, whose help is in the Name of the LORD (Ps. 124:8). To be an infant in this regard is to come to Jesus with all your labors and burdens, that He may give you rest. It is to rely utterly and completely on Him for every need. First and foremost, of course, your salvation. You cannot save yourself. You cannot bear the burden of the Law so as to fulfill it. Your knees will buckle under the weight, and the yoke will crush you. But Jesus bears it for you. He fulfills the Law in your place. Perfectly. In righteousness and holiness. And He gives all of that to you, freely, because you are a helpless infant, and that is what you need. He is harnessed to the cross and bears the yoke all the way up the hill to put your sin and failure to death. He is risen and lives to give you life. To wash away your filth, as He does at the font and in the Absolution. To shelter you in His House, in this family, His Church. To feed you from His Table, the milk of His Word, the solid food of His Body and Blood. To be an infant, as Jesus invites you to be, is to have all of this done for you, by Him. It is to be a receiver of all of these things. All things have been handed over to Jesus by our Father. And Jesus knows the proper time and manner of administering them to you and to me. We sure cry a lot, though, don’t we? Because Jesus doesn’t do things in the speed or manner that we want Him to. We’re hungry, and what if the economy tanks and we lose our job and our paycheck and our house and we can’t even buy groceries? We’re tired, so weary, exhausted. The news is never good. This pandemic is endless. The political conflict is at fever pitch. Now even violence and destruction in our streets. Chaos. We check Facebook hoping to escape, but find nothing but arguing and pontificating and virtue signaling. How can we solve our problems when we can’t even talk? Where can we catch a break, enjoy some needed rest? And, we need to clean ourselves up. We’re so filthy. With our own sin. We seek to justify ourselves. We seek justification from the world by pandering. But our diapers are still dirty. Where to we turn for help? We cry for the same reason infants cry. We’re hungry, we’re tired, and we’re stewing in our own filth. And Jesus is the only answer to any one of these predicaments. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matt. 5:6). By Jesus, who feeds us with Himself. And you weary? “Come to me,” Jesus says to us this morning, “and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Or how about Psalm 55:22: “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Or this word from St. Peter: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God”… no more self-justification or virtue signaling for you, dear Christian… just like the Proverbs verse says, no more leaning on your own understanding… “so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7). Are you filthy? You are, in your sins. Something in the air gives that away. But Jesus washes you in His blood and death by the waters of Holy Baptism and forgives you all your sins. He swaddles you with Himself, and you are clean, pure, and holy to God, a sweet smelling savor. Rest in that. Live in that safety and security, in the Father’s loving embrace. Sometimes we cry simply because we’re gassy, by which I mean there is ultimately no harm that can come to us in our Father’s care and in Jesus, who loves us and has saved us. But there are pains and discomfort to be endured. This life is hard, and it is not what it should be. It is fallen. There are sorrows and there are troubles and afflictions of various kinds. So we cry. But see, as infants, we can do so in the sure trust, the faith, that our God is with us in the room, comforting and consoling us, singing us to sleep with the blessed Gospel song, protecting us and providing for our every need. It is good to be an infant in the House of our Father, wholly dependent upon Him for absolutely everything. It is to just such as these that the Father reveals the things of Jesus Christ, the things of our salvation. And so you can lay down your burdens and rest in His care. And then, remember, infants don’t only cry. They also giggle with delight at the wondrous things the wise and understanding take for granted. So it is for us when the Father shows us the Gospel. We giggle and sing. “Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise” (Matt. 21:16; Ps. 8:2). In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.