Sunday, May 20, 2012
Sermon for Exaudi
Ezekiel 36:22-28 (ESV)
"Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came.  And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.  I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.  I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.  You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Three baptisms this morning, and we witness this happen. We witnessed God sprinkling clean water on three souls. He did it with my hand, because I did it at his command. He sprinkled clean water on three souls, just as he once sprinkled clean water on your soul, for body and soul are united, your life your nephesh, is not separate from your body. Together you live. Your body is as sacred as your soul, or your soul is as profane as your body. He sprinkled your souls, and cleansed you from all unrighteousness, you are clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols. Cleaned from your idols, cleaned from uncleannesses, those things that cause you to sin, and stray in your worship of God. Now you have been given a new heart, and a new spirit has been put within you, a heart of stone removed, replaced with a heart of flesh. You have been given new life, here you were buried into death with Jesus Christ who died for your sins, you were buried with him into death buried into death. Dead things are buried, the corpses of humans and animals, but you were buried into death, that you might be made alive, even as Christ was raised from the dead, to the glory of the Father, you may now walk in the newness of life, in the land God gave to your fathers, the innocent land of Eden he had carved out for us at the beginning. Yes you have been given new life. Because in these waters, God sent to you the promised Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, his very own Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who has washed you, who has cleansed you, who has sanctified you with the washing of water with the word, Holy Baptism, that you might be whole. This has happened that you might remain and dwell in this land he gave to your fathers, a hidden Eden in the midst of a world of death. In the midst of this land given for your fathers, a tree of death becomes a tree of life, the fruit of the tree, the body and blood of our risen lord and savior the author of life, from which he bids us eat, that the newness of life be sustained in the forgiveness of sins. I will sprinkle clean water on you. “Today this scripture has been fulfilled within your hearing.”
Now the Peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord Amen.