Sunday, April 25, 2010

Easter 4 Isaiah 40:25–31

"And to whom will you compare Me, and I be placed next to?" says the Holy One. "Lift up, on high, your eyes and see: Who created these? The One Who separates out in number, their armies; to all of them, by name, He calls; greatness of strengths and mighty of power: a man is not lacking. Why do you say, Jacob; and you speak, Israel, "Veiled is my way from Yahweh, and from God my judgment is passed over. It is not known to you? If you have not heard? A God, everlasting, is Yahweh–Creator of the ends of the earth! He does not become weary, and He does not become labored. There is no searching into his understanding. Giving to the weary–power, and to the one lacking might–abundant strength. And youths become weary and labored, and young men become weaker and weaker, but those who hope strongly in Yahweh renew power, and they go up wings as eagles. They run and are not labored; they walk and do not become weary."

There are times when you are just wiped out. You feel spent. You've stuggled with problem after problem and your energy is drained. You've done all you can, and you are simply labored-out. You grow weary and tired from everything that you've had to do. You can't do a single thing more, and even if you tried, it simply wouldn't help anyway. You just grow weaker and weaker, and there doesn't seem to be much hope in continuing on. You've reached your wit's end, and want to just give up.

We've all been there, at one time or another. Maybe it was when you were giving birth to your first child, and the labor was so intense that you didn't think you could do it. Perhaps it was a test or project at school that seemed so overwhelming that you thought you'd never complete the task. Or you or a loved one may have had a health problem that seemed insurmountable, and you didn't think you'd ever recover. Whatever the circumstance, you simply ran out of gas, and needed some help!

In the sorrow of feeling over-whelmed, it sure seems like God has abandoned us. But He hasn't. Just as Jesus tells His disciples that they shouldn't sorrow because He physically goes away for a little while, so too you shouldn't feel like God has left you just because Jesus is up in heaven now. For heaven isn't really a place far from you at all! Heaven is wherever God is found, and you know that you have a bit of heaven on earth this morning, with Immanuel, God-with-us in our midst today!

Jesus comes to be with you today in the daily bath of your baptism. It's not a coincidence that all of our worship services begin with the Name into which we are all baptized. This serves as a repeated reminder that God calls you by name, by *His* name, as a baptized child of God. This thought should perk you up a bit, knowing that no matter how weary and tired you become, God, your heavenly Father provides you the strength you lack, His Own almighty power if need be, to see you through anything!

Jesus also renews your strength this day in His word. Your Pastor is privileged to preach from the pulpit the proclamation of God's gospel love in Jesus to you. This message is not the preacher's word, but it is Jesus' Own love delivered to you this day! He loved you so much that with you on His mind, He went to the cross to receive the judgment of death you deserved for your sins; so that, in trade, you get the judgment He deserved by his perfect obedience–life eternal in the paradise of heaven!

Jesus comes to strengthen your weary soul in the spiritual sustenance of the Lord's Supper. In the bread, He gives you His very body which was given unto death at Calvary. In the cup, he gives you His very blood shed for you on Golgotha's hill. He feeds you with Himself so that His omnipotent strength, come down from heaven, may be within you! No longer is your soul weak and weary, but now it is strengthened in the forgiveness and salvation Jesus brings to you in the gifts of Holy Communion.

So you no longer need to sorrow as though you are too overwhelmed to function any longer. Nor do you need to search for some sort of inner strength within you, that isn't really there. You have a Savior Who is God. He never grows weary, weak or tired....well, He did once at the cross. There Jesus bore all your weaknesses in His Own body on the tree. But now He is risen and has ascended to the right hand of His heavenly Father. He is now your source of strength, here and now, and hereafter in eternity! "I come, O Savior, to Thy Table, for weak and weary is my soul; Thou, Bread of Life, alone art able to satisfy and make me whole. Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood, be for my soul the highest good!" Amen.

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