God's mercy

August 20, 2018

A Homily for Trinity X

 

August 5, 2018

All Saints Anglican Church, Prescott, AZ

Text: Psalm 120

 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of our heart be always acceptable in thy sight, O Lord our strength and our redeemer. Amen.

            This Sunday we reach the final Psalm Sermon that will talk directly about the nature of God, next week we will venture into looking at the Psalms and Christ to wrap our summer of Psalms up. We have seen at the center of God’s attributes is His glory, and it is hoped that we have not grown weary of this, but rather been inspired with awe and joy at the magnitude of God’s glory and the fact that we get to enjoy it. As we reach the end, the final attribute that we will discuss is God’s mercy.

            We like to think about God’s mercy, and how good He is to us. However, we must first understand that we have sinned, that we have fallen short of that glory that we have spent this summer exploring and delighting in. We must understand that because of Adam’s sin we are all separated from God, our relationship ruin. We must understand that this sin brings death.  

            Now, one pitfall that Christians can often fall into is easily seeing other’s sin while being totally oblivious to their own. A better way to look at sin is to be acutely aware of our own sin, and profoundly gracious to others whose sin you see. Instead of looking for the splinter in a brother’s eye, be repenting and seeking help for the log in your own, this is a better approach for a few reasons.

First, in being aware of our brokenness we are able to come running home to our heavenly father who heals us, who washes away the sin that inhabits with us. Secondly, in that awareness we get to delight in the incredible grace God has shown us, now free from the burden of our own sin we are free to worship and commune with God. No, seeing our sin doesn’t mean dwelling in guilt but dwelling deeper and deeper in the grace of Christ. Finally, in seeing the incredible mercy that God has shown us, we are compelled out of joy to show those around us mercy when they hurt us, disappoint us, or we simply see them as frustrating.

            As we turn to Psalm 120 we are reminded of a few things, first and foremost – we are to call upon the Lord whether our hearts are filled with joy or aching deeply. Secondly, we may find ourselves in a situation where it seems that those who hate us have power over us. There will be times that it seems those who are wicked have control and the world seems unjust. Finally, we are reminded that the Lord is always faithful, the Lord will deliver His church into His glory. First delivering us from sin, and then delivering us to an eternal life of enjoying His glory.

            The Psalmist this morning calls upon the Lord as it seems his enemies have all the power. It seems that those who are evil will not be brought to justice. Meanwhile, he is striving to be faithful to the Lord. We are reminded that no matter what – if we think the world is unjust we call upon the Lord, if our heart is broken because of loss, failure, or disappointment, call upon the Lord. If we are rejoicing in the goodness of the world – call upon the Lord. If we long for something – call upon the Lord.

            In all things, let us always be calling upon the Lord and trusting in His mercy. There may be times in our lives that seem too hard to bear but the Lord will see us through let us have faith to see these days come.

            First, when we pray to the Lord we want to remember that our prayers are not to sway the Lord but to come to him and show Him our heart. In our obedience of prayer we learn better to do His will, we learn better to see what He is doing in our life. Secondly we learn both how dependent we really are upon the Lord and how to depend upon Him more deeply. We are reminded to be faithful in our prayer, calling upon the Lord in both the good days and the hard.

            It can often seem that the world is unjust, and in fact this should not surprise us when we think about the world in light of the curse given to Adam. The curse brought upon earth because of Adam’s sin corrupted the will of humanity and made the way of the world bent. Too often those around us chose selfishness and evilness and seem to get away with it. We too make these choices and often get away with it, but the conscience, inspired by the Holy Spirit, reminds us and calls us to repentance.

            Yet, what do we do when it seems that someone who is forcefully bent towards evil succeeds? Do we despair? Do we take a fatalist view?  We place our trust in the Lord and remember that He, and He alone is sovereign, that no matter how wicked the world around us may seem the Lord will deliver His church. So we learn to trust in Him when the world seems to be far too mad. We remember that even in the madness of the world the Lord is still in control.

            A way to think about this is that we can learn to trust in the Lord in our small frustrations, in canceled flights, or stubbed toes, or missing keys, so that when major frustrations and heartaches beseech us we can trust more fully in Him, knowing that even in those dark days – He is good.

            Finally, we are reminded that the Lord is delivering us, that he delivers His church through dark days and good days, but that His deliverance serves two purposes. First – to glorify Himself. God’s mercy in our darkest days is often the most effective witness to the world around us, and secondly that we would be sanctified that one day we could join with the heavenly chorus in the glorious praise to the Lord.

            While the Church regularly faces times of oppression we can take heart. Even in this day and age we read about this strife, especially in communist, middle eastern and some African countries, we are reminded to have a firm confidence in the Lord, that He is delivering those who suffer. In that deliverance, the struggle the church faces around the world we can see this to act as a witness to the glory of God. Even as early as the first martyr, St. Stephen, we see a confidence in the goodness of God as the crowds stone him. Again, and again martyrs have gone happily to their death. May we pray to have the same confidence in our daily lives and our little frustrations!

            The amazing thing about these martyrs is the effect that they have on those who witness their deaths. So often others, in their own amazement come to faith in Christ. It is in the darkest of days that the church often flourishes. So while dark days may seem frightening, we know that God will work a great thing through them.

            In the hard times in clinging to the promise of deliverance, we are reminded that we are we are being delivered to an eternity to the Lord, that the Lord is preparing our hearts and minds for His service. The Lord will deliver His church from those who would oppress us, and He will delivers us from death. This eternity with the Lord is the great confidence that we hold on to.

            We are reminded this week of God’s mercy towards those who trust in Him, and of his faithfulness. So let us put our confidence in God and His mercy that we would do all things to His glory.

            Amen.

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