Monday, September 23, 2013

The In Crowd

St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Transferred)
September 22nd, Year of Our + Lord 2013
St. John and Trinity Lutheran Churches, Fairview and Sidney, Montana
The In Crowd – Matthew 9:9-13

     There’s a new kid in town.  He’s pretty cool, really talented, but hard to figure out.  All the cool and popular kids are checking him out.  No one’s sure yet who this new kid is going to hang out with, but it looks like he’s going to be the new top dog, in whatever group he chooses.  He could be a jock, an athlete, since he seems to have almost miraculous physical abilities.  He can probably walk on water.  He could hang out with the brainiacs, the smart kids, preparing for college.  His wisdom is so amazing, he’ll be at the top of the class.  He could rule 4-H, FFA or any of the shop classes.  After all, animals respond to him like he’s the king of all creation, and his stepdad was a carpenter, who taught him all about building houses.  Somebody’s cousin went to a wedding and this new kid was the life of the party.  Somehow he managed to salvage the reception when the caterer ran out of wine.  It sounds like he’s from out of this world.  Everybody wants him to be their friend, to have him hang out with them.    

     That’s why it’s so weird, what I saw him do the other day.  I saw him go to Matthew’s house.  You know Matthew, that teacher’s pet, that hall monitor, Matthew.  Jesus went over to his place and invited Matthew to go hang out with him.  Later on I saw the new kid and Matthew and a bunch of other kids, at a table together, eating pizza at the The Depot.  I couldn’t believe who I saw, every loser and lowlife you could think of.  All of Matthew’s geeky tattle-tale friends were there.  Even Mary.  You know, crazy Mary Magdalene, the one who everyone says has really gotten around.  She was there, along with a bunch of other girls you want to stay away from.  And all the handicapped kids, in wheelchairs and walkers.  Pimple faced kids with bad skin.  A couple of druggies, and that one skinny kid who gets beat up by his dad.  It seemed like you had to be a loser to get a spot at the table.  And right there in the middle of all of them was the new kid, even though he could hang out with whoever he wants to.  He really seemed to enjoy being with those losers.  I don’t get it.  Why does he want to eat with them?

     Is it too much of a stretch, comparing a bunch of high school cliques with the different groups competing for power in the Israel of Jesus’ day?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Amongst the Jews of Jesus’ day, the Pharisees were heads of cliques, special groups, built and maintained around the talents and personality of their leader, their teacher.  Perhaps, in a religious setting, the various crowds of disciples following around their favorite rabbi are not so unlike the jocks, the cheerleaders, the rednecks, the motorheads and the brainiacs, and all the other little cliques that form in every American High School, or at least in those with more than 50 kids. 

     No matter how distant a memory high school is for you, we all know how, at every age, we love to form little exclusive clubs, where we can all celebrate and rally around something about us we think is just great, something which helps us whitewash over and ignore our less pleasing features.  We also love to form groups so we can point out the less pleasing things we think we see in others, which we think makes us look good by comparison.  Brainiacs vs. the Red Necks.  Stay at home moms vs. working moms.  Small business owners vs. government employees.  Democrats vs. Republicans.  All of these groups, whatever good you can rightly say about each of them, has also the sinful potential to ostracize, label and reject people outside the group, without cause or compassion.  And so, we naturally gravitate toward the best group we think we might qualify to join.  So also, when an impressive new person enters a community, we naturally want them to be like us, to hang out with our group. 

      In this light, it’s interesting to consider Jesus, as He entered the religious scene of 1st century Israel.  He attracted a lot of attention.  He taught with authority, not as the Scribes and Pharisees.  He performed miracles.  He spoke convincingly of the coming of the Kingdom of God.  An exciting new kid on the block, an exciting new teacher on the religious and cultural landscape, who, as we heard in the Gospel, refused to meet anyone’s expectations.  He called into his inner circle the strangest people: a bunch of red-necked fishermen, and even a traitor, a turncoat Jew, a tax collector for the hated Roman occupiers, a man named Matthew.  And then, to press the point, He goes to dinner with a whole bunch of tax collectors and other sinners.  A bunch of losers and lowlifes.  These are the people Jesus chose to hang out with.

     Why?  Why did Jesus choose the low and the sinful?  Well for starters, He didn’t have any other options.  While we are easily fooled by the outward confidence and beauty of the people who make up the “in” crowd, the truth is their outer facade cracks and falls away under pressure.  Beauty queens don’t look so great in the morning.  The smartest people can struggle to make it in the work-a-day world.  Football stars grow fat and slow.  But Jesus isn’t concerned with social acceptability, or economic success.   Regardless of one’s standing in society, Jesus looks at the condition of our hearts before God, and so He knows He has no choice but to choose the low and the sinful.  Because we are all low and sinful. 

     In God’s eyes only one thing differentiates between the tax collectors and sinners, and those very religious and pious Pharisees.  The tax collectors and sinners more readily recognized their desperate situation.  Told each and every day by their society that they were unworthy, despicable people, they knew who they truly were, and so they were looking for a Savior, for forgiveness, for a way out. 

     The Pharisees, who looked like they had it all together, didn’t really believe they needed a Savior.  Jesus later calls the Pharisees whitewashed tombs, outwardly beautiful, but within full of dry bones and all kinds of uncleaness, pretty to look at, but rotten and dead on the inside.   

     Harsh words, especially when you remember Jesus aimed them at people who were truly making every effort to be good and earn God’s favor.  But their best efforts were actually leading the Pharisees away from the Kingdom of God, so Jesus attacks their outward display of righteousness, showing them their sin, in hopes of awaking their need for a Savior. 

     Jesus is always doing this.  That’s why funerals and hospital rooms, jails and emergency rooms, are so often the places the Gospel does its greatest work.  Places of tears and fears, wherever human weakness and sin come out of hiding, are often the site of Christian evangelism, because it is in the midst of tears and fears that people begin to look for a physician, a Savior. 

     Like Jesus’ harsh words to the Pharisees, the crises and disasters of life often break our outer shells, and force us to face the truth about our condition.  Despite all our best laid plans, despite all our best efforts, something is dreadfully wrong in our world.  Nothing ever seems to go completely as we wish or intend.  Sin is in the air, in the water, in the soil, and in us.  Human sin has thoroughly permeated all of creation, so much that the creation itself groans in expectation of deliverance.  Everything we try to do eventually frays and tatters, decays and falls apart.  And oh how we, like beauty queens or Pharisees, struggle and work to reverse this decay, in both in our physical and spiritual lives.  But we can’t hold it all together.  We are weak sinners, and we cannot change ourselves. 
     It is just then, when the harsh truth of the sin and decay stops us short, when we admit that we too are losers, that we don’t have it all together, any better than those we think of as lowlifes, it is just then, thanks be to God, Jesus steps in, the Great Physician, ready to apply His cure.  Jesus comes not to be with the strong and healthy, but rather with sinful losers who know that they can’t do it on their own, that they need a Savior.  Jesus sits down at table with sinners who have repented of saving themselves and who look to Jesus alone for relief.  Indeed, such are the sinners that Jesus invites and serves, at His table. 

     For the self-sufficient, Jesus has crushing words:  “I never knew you.”  “We never really talked,” says Jesus.  “Despite all your religious striving, we never really sat down and ate together, because you refuse to confess the truth about yourself, that you, too, are a sinner, desperately in need of a Savior.”  “You spend all your time worried about how you look on the outside, whether you’re respectable, attractive or popular, all the while ignoring the death and sin that is within you.”  To those who think or pretend they have it all together,  Jesus says, “I never really knew you, because you never stopped trying to fix yourself, you never stopped and really listened to me.” 

     We confess our sins quite often here in Church.  That’s good.  But we still don’t like to hear Jesus’ words to the self-sufficient, because they still accuse us, too. 

     Repent.  Stop trying to save yourself, and look to Jesus.  Live your life with your eyes fixed upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who died for us on the cross.  He calls us to look to Him, so that we can run the race, that is, that we might live the life of faith toward God and love toward neighbor to which Jesus calls us.  Focus on Jesus and His cross, and by His Grace, empowered by His Spirit, you will run the race. 

     Live your life always looking through the lens of Christ crucified.  God has already prepared all the good works you are to do.  God is the one who works in the baptized so that you do good works in your everyday lives, lived in faith and forgiveness, to the glory of Christ.  Most importantly, Jesus Christ has completed the one good work which you need to escape your failures, your sin.   His good work on Calvary covers all your faults and failures. 

     Look to Jesus, walk in the way He has prepared for you.  For He is the head of a special group. And Jesus’ clique is exclusive – only those who confess to be a loser, a sinner, can join.  But to all who know their need, their sin, Jesus offers an open invitation.  Come to Me, says Jesus, confessing your sins, and hear the Good News:  By My Blood, I have washed you clean and made you worthy of My Father’s Kingdom. 

   Day by day, and week by week, Jesus invites you to come and hear and receive again His love for you.  As we prepare to enjoy the German meal, also remember how Jesus invites you to come and eat, to taste and see that the Lord is good.  Come and enjoy the presence of Jesus every chance you get, and rejoice with all his children that He has called you into His special group, the group of sinners declared Holy, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  Amen.

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's Your Funeral

Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, September 15th, Year of Our + Lord 2013
Trinity and St. John Lutheran Churches, Sidney and Fairview, Montana
It’s Your Funeral – Luke 7:11-17

Who’s funeral is it, anyway? 

     Our Gospel reading creates a panoramic view in my mind’s eye, like in an epic motion picture from the 1960’s: two processions winding through the dusty Galilean countryside, one led by a dead man, carried on a funeral bier, the other led by the Man of Life, followed by disciples and hangers-on.  Mourners in the considerable crowd glance up, wondering why the other procession just keeps coming closer, assuming that these strangers will halt their approach, for pity’s sake, stopping, once they realize they are disturbing a funeral.  I don’t think there were funeral directors in first century Galilee, but can’t you just see Mike McCollum or Al McGahan caught on the wrong side of the crowd, trying to hustle in their best unhurried walk to intercept the approaching party, scowling just a bit as they see their carefully planned ceremony being disturbed? 

     Jesus just keeps approaching, not falling in the back, not joining the funeral procession, but rather coming right up to the pall bearers, looking right at the grieving mother, interrupting the procession, breaking all the rules.  He even dares to speak to the grieving mother, the Widow Nain, acting like He’s in charge.  Breaking the final taboo, Jesus touches the body.  Who’s funeral is it, anyway? 

     We guard our funerals carefully.  For the sake of the grieving family, we follow a set of unwritten rules about what we do and how we behave at funerals.  If asked, you bring food, and serve as a pallbearer or usher.  Above all we silently agree to only say good things about the deceased, no matter how he actually lived.  We maintain and meet these expectations, mostly so they will still be expected when we die, so that we too will get a decent send-off.  There is an odd mix of church and culture in the way we do funerals, and that’s o.k., up to a point, because funerals are hard.

     Funerals are very difficult, and so the expectations and traditions we maintain can be helpful, giving us some manageable things to do when the reality of death makes our life quite unmanageable.  But be warned, Jesus still takes over funerals.  The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, and while God does not often intervene visibly in human events, He has the right, and the ability, to do so at any time, visibly or invisibly.  All of our days are in His hands, so if the Lord decides to step in and take over a funeral, it will be so. 

     And so it was that day outside the village of Nain.  Jesus walks right up, surveys the situation, and takes over the funeral procession, for the sake of the mother.  A widow, now bereft of her only son, her faith in God’s promises under attack, she receives the Lord’s compassion.  “Do not weep.”  What?  What did He say?  Strange compassion, no?  Fulkerson’s fills our pews with tissue packs; weep away, that’s what we say.  In the end it’s all we can say, all we can do, to weep and mourn and let some of the pain leak out.  In Nain, the widow’s son, her only son, the son of her already dead husband, is now dead too.  What else can she do but weep? 

     But Jesus tells her:  “Do not weep.” Strange compassion, indeed, to command the woman to quell her tears, almost cruel.  Strange and cruel, that is, until Jesus issues another command: “Young man, I say to you, arise!”  And he does!  Glory to God in the highest, the Creator has visited His people, bringing life from death for the young man from Nain, joy from the depths of sorrow for his mother, and big news about Jesus, spreading throughout the countryside. 

Good news, way back then in the village of Nain, in Galilee:  The boy lives! 

     But we still have our funerals.  What good does this miracle do for us, who have never seen Jesus raise one of our loved ones from the dead?  What reason do we have to glorify God at our funerals?  What is the connection between Nain and Fairview/Sidney?  We seem to be stuck with our unspoken agreements and our tissue packs.  No great prophet to see here, no sign that God has visited us, no obvious benefit for us in this strange little story. 

     And yet Jesus raised the Widow’s son for you, too.  Certainly this miracle wasn’t for the good of the young man.  He had reached the other side.  Safe in Abraham’s bosom, his struggle was over.  But for the good of his mother, to ease her pain and dry her tears, Jesus brought him back, to live and breathe and speak again.  We are not given any clue to the content of his words in our reading, but what a preacher this young man could have become, an eyewitness from both sides of the great divide, an eyewitness to the authority and compassion of Christ, authority over death itself, compassion far deeper and more powerful than the impotent well-wishing of a funeral crowd. 

     Jesus raised this young man for his mother’s sake, and for yours, a resurrection for the making of eyewitnesses, a funeral procession halted so that the world might one day hear of another funeral procession, a smaller one, a procession no one cared to interrupt, a bitterly sorrowful procession of just a few brave disciples, lost in sorrow but going through the motions of a decent burial, maybe not knowing why, but fulfilling God’s intention, that Jesus should rest, in a new tomb, on the Sabbath. 

     The Lord has taken over many funerals, doing this work Himself, and also through Elijah, Elisha, Peter, and Paul.  At various times throughout salvation history, God has been busy interrupting funerals, bringing back the dead, compassionately wiping away the tears of mothers, sisters, fathers, family, and teaching us that death is not beyond God’s power.  But none of these interrupted funerals really help us with our funerals. 

     In the funeral of Jesus, however, in that sad procession from Golgotha to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, there we will find power and hope and even glory, when we understand that Jesus’ funeral is our funeral.  As He took charge of the funeral for the widow of Nain’s son, so also Jesus has taken charge of your funeral, by making it His own.  So that good things can truly be said about you, Jesus died suffering the worst insults imaginable.  Jesus was called sinner, fraud, blasphemer, so that you can be called a saint, a forgiven child of God.  So that the curse of sin can be removed from you, Jesus died and was buried, having become sin for us, so that in Him we become the righteousness of God.  So that death and separation from God need not be your fate, Jesus the Son of God swallowed up death in His own body, rising victoriously on the 3rd day, revealing new life for all who trust in Him.

     Your funeral, the funeral that makes an eternal difference, is over.  Now, for everyone who by baptismal faith is joined to Christ, death is just the passage to eternal life.  It’s still a scary passage, no doubt, and a sad one too.  But even amidst the tears, there is joy, for the souls of the faithful dead rest in Christ, seated at the Father’s right hand. 

     So you are free to turn the details of your earthly funeral over to Jesus.  We will still want to lean on the expertise of Mike and Al, and we will still need some bars and salads and pallbearers, but there is no need to hide the truth at your funeral, for the truth is that your sins and faults and failures are all forgiven by God the Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ His Son.  God has turned your mourning into dancing, a Christian funeral is a celebration of the victory of Christ, crucified, buried and resurrected, the Savior of the world. 

     We have these funeral planning worksheets to help us to intentionally turn over our funerals, our final trip to Church to Christ. Funeral planning worksheets are a good tool to help us choose readings and hymns that give glory to God, who has visited His people, to save them, and they help your family and your pastor make your funeral a celebration of Christ, and your victory in Him. 

     But far better preparation for your funeral is to continually gather to receive the gifts that Jesus has won for you.  Come and hear His Word, the accounts of His eyewitnesses, who proclaim His victory over sin, death and the devil.  Their Word is the tool of the Spirit, who through the Word delivers Christ’s victory to you by faith.  Come and marvel at your watery grave, remembering your Baptism day by day, your Baptism where you were buried and raised, with Jesus.  Come and dine at the funeral meal of Christ, His Supper, instituted before He died, celebrated now in His resurrected presence, a meal of joy and peace, and life, because those who receive the Body and Blood of Christ in faith never need to fear death. 

     A Christ-centered funeral is a wonderful missionary event, an outreach event.  Continually receiving Christ and His gifts will also make your life into a Christ-centered outreach event, for through His Word and Sacrament Christ is present in you, and wherever Jesus is, He is taking over, speaking words of hope, having compassion on the broken-hearted, giving His life to dying people, wiping away tears of sorrow, and inspiring tears of joy.  Glory to God, who visits His people, and who visits the world through the lives of his people, all for the sake of a good funeral.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Who, Where and How of Worship

Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, September 1st, Year of Our + Lord 2013
St. John and Trinity Lutheran Churches, Fairview and Sidney, Montana
The Who, Where and How of Worship - Luke 17:11-19

     Jack and Dan always know to whom to give thanks.  We human beings often struggle mightily to rightly understand worship, but not my dogs.  They get it.  1st, they give thanks to whomever feeds them.  2nd, they give thanks to whomever walks them.  3rd, they give thanks to whomever pets and grooms them.  They are not picky.  Whoever feeds, whoever walks, whoever pets, to that person Jack and Dan go, giving thanks and rejoicing, barking their praises, wagging their tails off.

     I don’t think the Nine Lepers who failed to return to give thanks to Jesus were unthankful.  How could they not be overjoyed and filled with praise, when, as they walked to show themselves to the priests, they were cleansed of the horrible sores that covered their bodies?  One moment in chronic agony, the next, clean, whole, free to re-enter society.  Whoo-hooo!  Of course they were thankful.  They were even trying to worship rightly, according to the Old Testament, ceremonial Law, heading off to show themselves to the priests, to be certified clean.  What they don’t know is the new Who and Where of thanksgiving and worship.  What they don’t understand is that, when Jesus became a human being, when He was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary, everything about thanksgiving, praise and worship changed, for Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law, and the Temple. 

     Before the Incarnation, before God became a man, first an embryo, then a newborn, then growing into manhood, before Jesus did all that, thanksgiving, praise and worship were all properly aimed toward Jerusalem, toward the Temple, that house for God where, through walls and curtains, smoke and priestly sacrifice, the LORD God made Himself partially accessible to His people, to all people, actually, any who would come. 

     For the safety of the pilgrims, areas were separated off into levels of access:  the Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest went, and only once a year, then the Holy Place, where only priests entered to offer the daily sacrifices and prayers, the court for Jewish men, and another for the women, and a court for the nations, for the gentiles, those non-Jews who had heard of the LORD God and believed, at least enough to come and show up, getting as close as they could, to pray, praise, and give thanks.  All those walls of separation were necessary because God is Holy.  God is the Destruction of sin, and people are sinful.  So giving thanks was dangerous, since it entails sinners coming into close proximity with the Holy, Holy, Holy LORD.  Worship required regulation and protective barriers, to keep God’s Holiness from destroying the sinners He wanted to bless. 

     But after Jesus came, all the rules for thanksgiving, praise and worship changed, because Jesus, God in the flesh, came to fulfill the law in our place, and to take all our sin from us, all sin, from every person, taking it all to His Cross, where He suffered in the place of all mankind.  Christ died and rose to destroy the power of sin and death, that is, to destroy their power to separate us from God and condemn us to eternal leprosy of body and soul.  And now, Jesus has made a new place, and a new way for worship. 

     This is what, by God’s grace, the Samaritan leper already understood: sinners properly and safely worship God in the person of Christ.  We can now approach God without fear, through the flesh of Jesus.  So the Samaritan returned to Jesus, praising loudly, and fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks.  Receiving great blessing from Jesus, he thanks and praises Him as God, because Jesus is God, come to save sinners, come to heal lepers eternally, come to give new life to dying men, women and children. 

     But the Nine didn’t get it.  God in Christ had done a great miracle for them also, healing their leprosy, and showing them that a new day had dawned, a day of worshiping God in the flesh of Christ.  But they didn’t get it.  They hurried off, blessed by God, but trying to find Him through the Old Testament laws of worship, which were passing away.  They didn’t understand that access to God comes now by gathering around Jesus. 

     Judging by the attendance rates at Christian Churches today, most people still don’t get it.  I don’t just mean today, on Labor Day Weekend, I mean every day.  God showers blessings down on people today, and every day.  Do our churches overflow with people giving thanks?  Are the people of God demanding more and more services, that they may give thanks each day for His rich bounty?  Are we even filling the pews one day a week? 

     A big part of the problem is that many people, including many of the Baptized, think they can give thanks to God any way they please.  For that matter, for many, any god will do.  Claiming that there is just One true God, and just One man through whom we sinners can approach Him is very taboo these days.  Saying such things is very much incorrect in polite society.  I mean, we don’t want to offend the Hindus, the Jews, the Moslems, or the Atheists.   The Samaritan leper knew to worship  God in the man Jesus.  But out of a misguided desire to be nice at the cost of eternal truth, we all too often get the Who of worship –Jesus Christ alone – completely wrong.

    Even when people get the Who right, even when we claim to be worshiping the Triune God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as revealed by Jesus, we still very often get the Where wrong.   Because, after all, “I can worship God in nature.”  “I can commune with the Lord on the lake.”  Except no, you can’t.  This isn’t to say you can’t be a Christian and go camping or to the lake or whatever.  Nor am I saying we can’t look at nature and say a prayer of thanksgiving for this wonderful world we live in. 

     But real worship, the worship that matters, happens when, like the healed Samaritan, the believers in Christ gather around Him, to receive His blessings and give thanks, praising Him and worshiping Him.  Through Jesus, we worship in the Spirit, and we worship the Father as well.  Jesus, the Son of God who has become also the Son of Mary, was born to build a Church, that is, a gathering of people. Worship is a gathering around Jesus, and we can do this, because He promises to be wherever two or three or more gather in His Name.   Jesus is the Who and the Where of  worship. 

     Which just leaves the question: How?  How does Jesus want us to worship?  How has Jesus built His Church?  From the Samaritan we have learned the Who of worship (Jesus Christ, who gives us the Holy Spirit and brings us to God the Father), and also the Where of worship (wherever Jesus is, there is the place for worship, and Jesus promises to be where His people gather in His Name).  With the right Who and Where, we are definitely headed in a good direction.  But once we’ve gathered around Jesus, How do we worship?  

     Again, the Samaritan leper shows us the way.  In fact, the shape of the Divine Service can be seen in his story.  The lepers start out confessing their sin problem.  Standing at a distance, acknowledging their leprosy, they cry out:  Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.  Then Jesus speaks to them, declaring a Word of promise and blessing on their disease.  After receiving His healing by the power of His Word, the Samaritan, the leper who believed in Jesus, approaches God, praising Him all the way, falling at His feet in thanksgiving.  Then Jesus  sends him away with the sweetest benediction – Rise and go your way, your faith has saved you.  Notice that – Jesus says “your faith has saved you,” not healed you.  The greater miracle, the point of this whole episode, is not healing from leprosy, but rather it is salvation from sin and eternal death, by faith in Jesus.    

     The How of worship is Divine Service, God through Christ coming to us sinners to serve us, to heal our souls and save us, to receive our praise, and then dismiss us for our daily lives, lived under His blessing, His benediction. 

     And so also we gather to confess, some of us like the lepers even standing at a distance, way in the back of the church.  We gather, confessing our sin problem, not leprosy, but a thousand other manifestations of our sin, and the impact of sin, and our sinfulness, and the guilt we carry because of our sins.  We cry out, in Confession, in Kyrie and Gloria – Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.  And He does, speaking forgiveness and blessing to us through His Word, reminding us we have been washed clean from the leprosy of sin in our Baptism.  And still today, because our sin causes us so much doubt, Jesus cleanses our souls again and again, in Absolution, in His Word put to song, in reading and in Sermon.  Your sins are forgiven, in Jesus Christ. 

     Receiving His gift of forgiveness, we praise God and come to Jesus, kneeling before Him,  meeting Jesus, face to hidden flesh at the Communion rail, performing the highest worship by receiving the Eucharist, which means the thanksgiving meal, the meal where Jesus gave thanks, for the privilege of saving sinners like you and me.  Our highest worship is eating and drinking His Body and Blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins, eagerly receiving forgiveness again, and again, because our sin is just that bad, but Jesus is just that good. 

     Saved by faith in the flesh and blood Jesus, we hear His blessing, “Rise and go, your faith has saved you, the Lord is with you, the Lord smiles upon you, go in His Peace, Amen.