Trinity 4 2016

Trinity 4 2016– recycled 2010
19 June 2016
St. Luke 6:36-42

In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Lord commands empathy and not simply action. He doesn’t tell us to merely “love our neighbor” but to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” Empathy is commanded because our fallen mind is not empathetic. It is selfish. When we consider our own actions, we make excuses. We want to be admired and we think we’ve earned what we have. We think that people should respect us. When we consider the actions of others we see serious character flaws and people who were born with silver spoons in their mouths. We all invoke a double standard and should be ashamed.

If you were not a hypocrite, you would never become angry at other drivers. This is also what makes us all armchair quarterbacks. We think we can understand and critique the coaches of our favorite teams or players, as though we know more about the game, or have more experience and talent than they do. In the same way, we think we can understand and critique a great performer or even have more fashion sense than Hollywood starlets.

If the measure you use is used back on you, you are in big trouble. You would be in trouble even if you had been fair but you haven’t been. Repent.

We are all beggars, unworthy of the love that is lavished upon us. None of us lives out this love, this mercy, that is poured upon us. None of us are as merciful as our Father is merciful – not even close. The deeper we look into our hearts, the more hypocrisy we find. Yet, love is lavished upon us anyway, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

Here is what ought to impress us, to take our breath away, to change our minds and hearts: the Lord removes the logs from our eyes, despite us. Your Father is merciful. He is the perfect embodiment of the Law. He does what we have never done. He loves us as Himself, does unto us what He would have done unto Himself. He loves us perfectly, without fail, without holding anything back. He keeps the Law for us and then He allows the Law to do to Him all it should have done to us, and it counts for us. His good works, His mercy, His love is counted as ours and our sins are counted as His.

This mercy is full and without end. Jesus doesn’t say that if you are merciful then the Father will be merciful. He says “Your Father is merciful.” He is. He is merciful whether you are or not. His

is utterly unencumbered: He simply loves us. There is no baggage, grudges, or fear in God that we will reject Him again or take advantage of Him, even though He knows full well we might. We might, but He will not stop. He will not quit. His mercy endures forever.

He loves all creation. He loves all that which He made good and which He has redeemed in the death of the Son, but He loves humanity before and above all, despite the fact that it is humanity that deserves punishment or which has caused such chaos and suffering upon the original goodness of creation. The animals, plants, and the very planet itself suffer because of our sin. Yet God’s mercy for us endures. Your Father is merciful. He takes up our flesh. He restores creation in His death to save us. He pays the price of our folly and selfishness, and ushers in a new age in His resurrection, promising a new heaven and a new earth, the end of death’s sting and Hell’s claim, even as He forgives the sins that poisoned and destroyed this old earth.

His mercy is without any deceit. He loves us from His very heart. There is no partiality, no double standard. All of humanity has been reconciled to the Father in the Son, declared righteous. None are deserving. None are truly better than the others. None are lacking this saving love from God, though, sadly, some are lacking faith and reject this love. Some refuse His mercy. All are loved, the good and the bad, the greatest and the least, the striving to be merciful repentant sinner and the hardened drug lord. Thus does He cause His sun rise over the evil and the good, even as He causes His Son to pay for every sin.

This is real mercy, not a frustrated giving-in. He does not pooh, pooh our sins and say, “no problem” and we start over, to try again.  He dies for sin. Nor does He love us with words alone. He loves us in deed and truth. He not only removes the guilt of our sin and bestows His Name and the promise of a future upon us, but He also feeds us, provides for us, and prepares a place for us beyond the grave.

His mercy is unchanging and inexhaustible. He is constantly moved by compassion. And this  mercy is free. He does not love for the sake of reward. He is not self-seeking. He does not love those who can or will love Him back, but loves all. He does not say, “If you are merciful, then the Father will be merciful.” He says “Your Father is merciful” and therefore you should reflect that mercy. You should be changed by it. How much you are, or how often you fail, isn’t a cause of His mercy. He simply and He simply does and we simply receive and by that same mercy reflect some of His love to one another. He does not see a log or speck in your eye. He does not see any flaw or lack of mercy. He sees perfection, an immaculate bride, a friend. Your Father is merciful because that is His nature, because He is good, because He is love.

This mercy is poured out, lavished, shaken together, overflowing, in the Cup of His Blood given to you to drink for the forgiveness of your sins.

In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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